Dodgers' Maury Wills, Gil Hodges, Joe Torre fall short of Hall of Fame election
LAS VEGAS -- Joe Gordon, a nine-time All-Star second baseman for the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians from 1938 to 1950, was elected to the Hall of Fame by a vote of a veterans committee. But former Dodger stars Gil Hodges and Maury Willis and current Dodger Manager Joe Torre all fell short of enshrinement.
Results of the balloting by two veterans committees -- one considering players whose career began before 1943 and the other to consider players whose careers began after that -- were announced at baseball's winter meetings today.
Hodges, a power-hitting first baseman who was the heart and soul of the Brooklyn Dodgers' lineup in the 1950s, was named on 28 of the 64 ballots, 20 shy of the number needed for election to the Hall for post-1942 players. Hodges, a nine-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, played four seasons in Los Angeles and hit .273 with 370 homers and 1,274 RBI in an 18-year career which ended with the New York Mets in 1963. He later managed the Washington Senators and Mets, winning a World Series with New York in 1969.
Wills, named on just 15 ballots, stole a then-record 104 bases with the Dodgers in 1962, when he won the National League MVP award. A member of seven All-Star teams and a two-time Gold Glove winner, Wills hit .281 and stole 586 bases in 14 big-league seasons with the Dodgers, Pirates and Expos, winning three world championships.
Torre, who won a batting title and an MVP award with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1971, fell 29 votes shy of election. For his career, he hit .297 with 252 homers and 1,185 RBI over 18 seasons with three organizations.
Players considered for election by the veterans committees, which vote every two years, are no longer eligible to be elected by the Baseball Writers Assn. of America. This year's ballot was the fourth in a row in which no player from the post-World War II era was elected. Former Cub great Ron Santo came closest with 39 votes, nine short of the 48 needed for election.
Gordon, who will be enshrined posthumously next July, was the American League MVP in 1942 and finished in the top 10 in voting for that award four other times. He played in six World Series, winning five, in an 11-year career that was interrupted by World War II.
-- Kevin Baxter
Editor's note: Incorrect spelling of Maury Wills' last name in fourth paragraph corrected at 4:33 p.m.
Photo (top): Maury Wills running the base path during the 1970s. Credit: Focus on Sport / Getty Images
Photo (inset): Joe Gordon. Credit: Associated Press