Los Angeles Dodgers power-hitting first baseman Gil Hodges was elected to the Hall of Fame on Dec. 5, 2022 receiving 12 votes—the minimum required for election—from the 16-member committee. Courtesy LA Dodgers
Dodgers retire Gil Hodges' No. 14
The Los Angeles Dodgers have retired the No. 14 worn by Gil Hodges, the power-hitting first baseman on the Brooklyn Dodgers teams of the 1950s, six months after his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The number is the 11th in team history to be retired and first since Aug. 14, 1998 when Don Sutton's No. 20 was retired, eight months after his election to the Hall of Fame.
The ceremony coincided with the New York Mets' lone regular-season series against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Hodges concluded his playing career with the Mets in 1963 and managed them from 1968 until his death on April 2, 1972, two days before what would have been his 48th birthday.
Hodges guided the Mets to the 1969 World Series championship after they had never finished higher than ninth during their first seven seasons. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era Committee on Dec. 5, receiving 12 votes—the minimum required for election—from the 16-member committee, which considers candidates whose primary contribution to the game came from 1950-69. He had failed to be elected by the Golden Era Com- mittee in 2011 and 2014.
Hodges was considered for selection by the Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee beginning in 1987, but was never elected. The closest he came to being elected in voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America was in 1983, his 15th and final ballot appearance under rules at the time, appearing on 63.4 percent of the ballots, with 75 percent being required for election.
The slugging first baseman is second in Dodger history in home runs (361) and RBI (1,254), third in total bases (3,357), extra-base hits (703) walks (925), fourth in games played (2,006) and fifth in runs scored (1,088). He shares the team's single-game records for home runs with four and RBI with nine.
During the era there was no draft, the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Hodges as an amateur free agent on Sept. 6, 1943 and made his professional debut with them on Oct. 3, 1943, playing third base, striking out twice and walking once in three plate appearances in a 6-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on the final day of the season.
Hodges spent the next two years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He returned to the Dodgers organization for the 1946 season, playing 129 games for Newport News and leading the Class B Piedmont League catchers in putouts, assists and fielding percentage.
Hodges returned to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, wearing No. 14. The No. 4 jersey he wore in his 1943 major league debut was given to another future Hall of Famer, Duke Snider. He made seven consecutive All-Star Game appearances from 1949-55, all seasons in which he drove in more than 100 runs, and became an eight-time All-Star in 1957. When Gold Glove awards were handed out for the first time in 1957, Hodges was a recipient, as he was each of the following two seasons.
Hodges drove in both runs in the Dodgers' 2-0 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, their only World Series championship in Brooklyn. He hit .391 in the Dodgers six-game victory over the
Chicago White Sox in the 1959 World Series, including an eighth-inning tie-breaking homer in Game 4 that gave the Dodgers a 5-4 victory and 3-1 series lead.
Hodges played with the Dodgers through 1961 when he was chosen by the Mets in the expansion draft to stock them for their inaugural 1962 season. Hodges began his managerial career with the Washington Senators in 1963, remaining with them through the 1967 season.
Los Angeles Clippers artist rendering
Intuit Dome: ‘A basketball palazzo’ cometh destined for Inglewood
First up. At the outset of the 2021-22 season of the National Football League, it’s only fitting to report the great Jim Brown, formerly of Syracuse University and the NFL Cleveland Browns, was enshrined with a bronze statue Sept. 4, outside of Brown Stadium… After each home game at SoFi Stadium during the 2021 NFL season, Los Angeles Rams Tackle and team captain Andrew Whitworth will make a $20,000 donation to help repair homes in his home state of Louisiana and move Angelenos facing housing insecurity into homes as part of his “Big Whit Homes for LA Families” program, Now that’s benevolence.
Now to the biggest news of the week involving Inglewood, Calif. Groundbreaking finally occurred on the $1.8 billion Intuit Dome arena, the future home of the Los Angeles Clippers at the corner of South Prairie Avenue and West Century Boulevard.
Superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined owner Steve Ballmer in the ground breaking on Friday, Sept. 17, thrusting chrome-tipped shovels into a ceremonial make-shift box of soil where the 18,000-seat arena will be built. The architectural design will seat fans closer to the court and Steve Ballmer, owner and Clippers No. 1 fan excitedly described some of the distinguishing hallmarks the forthcoming arena will offer. Ballmer promised state-of-the-art technology featuring a two-sided oval scoreboard with 44,000 square feet of LED lights, about 37,000 than most current NBA scoreboards.
“I like to think about the Dome as a basketball palazzo—homage to the game of basketball,” Ballmer said. “It’s not the Hall of Fame, but with as many championships as we’re going to win here, it’ll be better than the Hall of Fame.”
Ballmer expressed glee that upon completion, the Intuit Dome will offer the Clippers and the organization an arena of their own. The ceremony had the air of a pep rally with special guests in attendance from local and state officials, players and team executives, to specially-selected fans. The energy that resonated was the LA Clippers’ eagerness to create its own brand and space away from Staples Center and the co-tenant arrangement with the Lakers, Kings, and Sparks. The entire Clippers business operations will be housed beneath a solar-panel-clad roof.
“If you share a building with not one, but two teams, it’s a very difficult task, it really is,” said Jerry West, the former Lakers great, NBA Hall-of-Famer, and consultant to Ballmer and Clippers executives since 2017. “For the players, when they go to the Intuit Dome, they know this building is dedicated to them.”
“It will be a fresh start in a new arena that [will be] Home Sweet Home,” Ballmer said.
Ballmer purchased the team in 2014, initially planning to remain downtown LA long-term, but within a year the Clippers organization was scouting locations spurred by a need to distinguish the team’s identity. In 2016 Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts and Ballmer met at the Marina-Del-Rey Ritz-Carlton to discuss a basketball arena whose construction is only now beginning after years of costly legal wrangling. The Clippers did not take
possession of the final parcels of land for the complex until summer this year after the City acquired the remaining land through eminent domain.
Ballmer recounted the months of jousting back and forth and said with a chuckle— “Mayor Butts, boy," he sighed, "we’ve been through it.”
Now, just three years remains to deliver “the singular best place for fans and players throughout the World,” Ballmer said. By the way, the roof of the Dome will be emblazoned with the brand Intuit, the Silicon Valley-based software
company best known for Turbo Tax, whose licensing agreement is 23 years for an undisclosed sum.
Ballmer shared a host of digital technology firsts for a sports arena, including a 4700-seat section behind the opposing team bench, dubbed “The Wall” reaching 51 rows high on a steep slope. It will be akin to Fenway Park’s left-field “Wall,” and Duke University’s student section. Ballmer said the team will have a contingency plan in case of delays but was confident the organization will move in on time to allow customers to secure and watch games from “courtside cabanas” modeled after field-level suites in the NFL.
Fans will be able to make purchases from “smart” concession stands that will charge customers automatically without long checkout lines or a wallet, “technology willing,” said Gillian Zucker, business operations manager.
Five basketball courts will adorn the complex with two for community use.
“I feel a little bit like a kid on Christmas,” Ballmer said. “You see that big present sitting there—you know it’s not time to open it yet, so what do you start doing? Well, I want to rip the paper; you look inside. The only problem we
have right now is, it’s three years before we get a chance to open the damn thing!”
Got to love the man. He’s real!
Ballmer reiterated that he will contribute 80 million dollars toward affordable housing in the city. But you can never please everyone. Prior to the ceremony, roughly a dozen protesters appeared on Prairie Avenue displaying signs criticizing the looming construction and its potential impact on local residents.