I thank the L.A. Times and Roger Kahn for the commentary on Gil Hodges [May 26]. I wonder why this argument wasn't made in 1983, the last year Hodges was eligible on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Once Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez went in, Hodges should have gotten an automatic pass (like Tom Lasorda). I have never been to Cooperstown but would love to go see Hodges' plaque there.
Kahn is right on target in his position that Hodges should be enshrined in baseball's Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately the Dodgers haven't helped the situation by failing to retire Gil's No. 14. It is apparently Dodger policy to retire only numbers for players who have been elected into the hall. As usual, two wrongs don't make a right. Hodges gave his all as a Dodger and in return the Dodgers give nothing.
The article promoting Brooklyn first baseman Gil Hodges for the Hall of Fame caused me to wonder what The Times and baseball have against Maury Wills.
Two men changed the way baseball is played: Babe Ruth, who turned it into a power game reliant on home runs, and Maury Wills, who returned the stolen base to the game after its virtual absence of 40 years. Wills not only broke Ty Cobb's stolen-base record of 96, which had stood for 47 years, he was the catalyst for the Dodger pennants of '59, '63, '65, and '66.
The Dodgers of '49-'56 were so dominant that they would have won without Hodges. Without Wills, the Dodgers of '59-'66 wouldn't have won one pennant, much less four pennants and three World Series.
If The Times wants to support a Dodger who has been unjustly ignored by the Hall of Fame, it needn't champion a journeyman first baseman from Brooklyn. It need look no further than Chavez Ravine and Maury Wills.
Marina del Rey