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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Your Handy Voters Guide

Happy Election Day! It’s your Metstitutional duty to vote for the candidates of your choice. You could do worse — and no better, in this analyst’s opinion — than theoretically casting a ballot for the following slate.

Juan Lagares, National League Gold Glove center fielder. This race will be called tonight. If Juan grabs the Gold Glove, it will nicely accessorize his place on the Fielding Bible team. Of course we’re used to Lagares grabbing everything within his grasp. His mantel is where defensive awards go to live.

Jacob deGrom, National League Rookie of the Year. The Sporting News primary and the Players Choice caucuses have already thrown their support to the DeLand Delight. We’ll know if the BBWAA puts our man over the top come Monday.

Gil Hodges, Hall of Fame. While you don’t need Nate Silver to tell you Lagares and deGrom are solid favorites to win their elections (objections of the Billy Hamilton Party notwithstanding), Hodges and his fate will remain a mystery until December 8, when the loosely defined Golden Era Veterans Committee reveals its picks. Gil’s on the same ballot with another ex-Met, Ken Boyer, as well as post-integraton/pre-DH stars Dick Allen, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills plus Big Red Machine architect Bob Howsam.

Their status lies in the hands of a 16-man committee, 12 of whose voters I hope will say “yea” to Gil Hodges. Generations after his passing, it’s stunning to me that Gil’s career is still sitting in electoral purgatory, waiting on the good graces of whoever happens to have a say in a given year. Those who severely admire Gil and watched him come oh-so-close under varying formats are left to wonder who on this committee seems most amenable to putting him over the top. That guy grew up in New York when Gil was an elite first baseman; this guy worked in the Mets organization and can’t be unaware of the impact Hodges had on the sport; hey, this one covered baseball right here in town for a long time; and that one pitched for the Dodgers, which should mean something if he was at all paying attention to his franchise’s history.

Is this any way to potentially bestow immortality on a figure who has been widely and fiercely considered transcendent for six decades? Frankly, it’s as good as any at this point. You could just run the numbers, depending on which numbers you like. I like some better than others. But I’m human. And a Mets fan. And I’m old enough to remember Gil as a manager and to have heard contemporary after contemporary of his recall him as a player, and I’m still waiting to hear anybody with a bad word to say about the totality of his playing and managing career, never mind his character — and I don’t mean, “well, this statistic doesn’t quite measure up to those of a relatively comparable first baseman who came along later.”

If Gil doesn’t make it this time, I’ll go back to dismissing the Hall of Fame’s authority as ultimate arbiter of greatness. Who are they to tell me who to revere? I’ve been watching, reading and breathing baseball for 46 seasons. I haven’t come across anybody greater than Gil Hodges. Electing him to the Hall of Fame won’t make him any greater. It will just mean that, by a particular process, his greatness will be more widely acknowledged.

I’ve just used some variation on “great” four times in one paragraph. I hate to repeat myself, but if repeating oneself is what one must do on behalf of a worthy candidate who repeatedly doesn’t win his election, then it’s worth the repetition.

Gil Hodges for the Hall of Fame. If you endorse the notion, consider signing this petition that will be sent to Cooperstown in the coming weeks. It won’t count as a vote but your voice will be heard. It’s the American way.

4 comments to Your Handy Voters Guide

  • Dave

    If Lagares didn’t get a GG and deGrom wasn’t ROY (and that one I’m still skeptical about), it’d be easy to chalk them up to odd voting behavior and biases. But for The Sainted Gil not to be in Cooperstown just defies all logic. Maybe it can happen this time, but starting to run out of people who saw his whole career.

  • Lou from Georgia

    One down, two to go!

  • vertigone

    After losing the GG to Lagares, poor Billy Hamilton is going to lose the ROY to deGrom.

    As for Gil, yesterday on MLB Network, they had a discussion on some players who should be in the HOF. They mentioned Minnie Minoso and Dick Allen. Our Ron Darling said he’d have to hand in his Mets driver’s license (?) if he didn’t suggest Gil Hodges. One of the dopey sportswriters said he thinks Gil falls short.

    Brian Kenny said he could make a good case for Keith Hernandez, and Ronnie agreed.

    • open the gates

      Gil’s a little before my time, but I agree about Keith Hernandez. Both for his revolutionizing of fielding his position, and for his leadership role on one of the great teams of all time. Borderline, but certainly an acceptable nominee to the Hall.