Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers legend Gil Hodges was among the four players voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era Committee last month, which brought joy to the likes of Vin Scully and Steve Garvey, who had been longtime proponents of the possibility.
Garvey shared a friendship with Hodges as a child and recently recalled the time they played catch during Spring Training in 1956. Garvey served as the batboy for Brooklyn at the time and considers himself lucky to have been around so many of his idols.
It was that same year in which Garvey had another memorable moment. While playing catch with Garvey, New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle was taking batting practice on the same field.
In awe of Mantle’s presence, Garvey was distracted and couldn’t get out of the way of a foul ball that struck him in the chest. Hodges was quick to remind Garvey that the Dodgers defeated the Yankees in the previous year’s World Series, via Bill Ladson of MLB.com:
The next thing you know, Mantle hit a foul ball that hit Garvey in the chest. It shocked the young Garvey, but he was fine. “He asked if I was looking at them [meaning the Yankees taking BP],” Garvey said. “I nodded, and he paused for second and he said, ‘Son, we are the world champions.’ I said, ‘Yes, sir.’”
The Dodgers captured their first title in franchise history after defeating the Yankees in seven games in the 1955 World Series. Hodges played a big part in that as he batted .292/.357/.417 with one home run and five RBI across 24 at-bats.
The two teams would meet again in the 1956 World Series, with New York avenging themselves by defeating Brooklyn in seven games.
The Dodgers and Yankees have met 11 times in the World Series, with New York winning eight times. L.A.’s last victory came in 1981, which also marks the most recent time the teams played each other in the Fall Classic.
Garvey hopes to join Hodges in Hall of Fame
After seeing Hodges be elected into the Hall of Fame, Garvey is still holding out hope that he will one day join his idol in Cooperstown.
The first baseman played 14 of his 19 Major League seasons with the Dodgers. He ranks among the all-time L.A. franchise leaders in hits (1,968; second), doubles (333; first), home runs (211; third), RBI (992; first) and games played (1,727; third).
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