Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Monday, February 26, 2001

Release # 056-01

Contact: Sunny Mindel / Michael Anton
(212) 788-2958


Remarks by Mayor Giuliani at Public Hearing on Local Laws

The first bill before me today, Introductory Number 770, sponsored by Council Members Nelson, Berman and Fisher, would add the name "Gil Hodges Way" to Bedford Avenue, between Avenue L and Avenue N, in Brooklyn.

Gilbert Raymond Hodges was born in Princeton, Indiana on April 4, 1924. In 1943, Gil came to New York as a nineteen-year-old rookie catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Like many ballplayers of his generation, his career was interrupted by service in the Second World War. Gil enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the height of the war and received the Bronze Star for meritorious and heroic service. He did not return to the Dodgers until the 1947 season.

In 1948, with the arrival of another notable Brooklyn catcher, Roy Campanella, manager Leo Durocher moved Gil from catcher to first base. Over the course of his career, Gil Hodges hit 370 home runs and drove in 1,274 runs. His lifetime batting average was .273 and he collected a total of 1,921 hits. Remarkably, he drove in more than 100 runs for seven consecutive seasons from 1949 to 1955 and hit 20 or more home runs for 11 straight seasons from 1949 to 1959. In 1950, Gil hit four home runs in a single game against the Boston Braves, tying a Major League record that still stands today. In addition, he was an outstanding fielder, earning three Gold Gloves, and he represented the National League at first base in eight All-Star Games.

Toward the end of his career, Gil Hodges played for the City's new National League club, the New York Mets. On April 11, 1962, in St. Louis, Gil hit the first home run in the team's history. In 1968 he was named the Mets' manager, and was at the helm when the team won its first World Series in the "miracle" 1969 season.

Although he passed away nearly thirty years ago at only 47, Gil Hodges remains a beloved figure in New York City. He is part of the City's cherished baseball lore, and he was a participant in many memorable and historic events. He wore Dodger Blue when Jackie Robinson broke the game's color line. He was there when Bobby Thompson ended the Dodger's World Series hopes with his "Shot Heard `Round the World" home run in 1951, and he helped lead the "Brooklyn Bums" to redemption when the team finally vanquished the Yankees to win its only World Series in 1955.

Therefore, it is fitting that we name the street on which he and his family lived in his honor. I am proud to add the name "Gil Hodges Way" to Bedford Avenue, between Avenue L and Avenue N, in Brooklyn.

For the reasons previously stated, I will now sign the bill.

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