Apr 3, 2019
Legendary Mets Player & Manager: Gil Hodges -The Mets Years
Mets Managing Career 1968-1972: On November 27, 1967 Hodges came back to New York in a yet another wacky trade with Washington, this one for Bill Denehy and $100,000. He came on to manage the Mets in 1968 and spent most of the season just observing what he had to work with.
On September 24th he suffered a mild heart attack while in Atlanta. A combination of stress & smoking were key contributors. At the end of the 1968 season it was questionable if he could return in 1969.
During the night cap, Cleon Jones didn’t hustle on a ball that was hit to him on the wet outfield grass. Hodges walked from the dugout toward the pitcher’s mound everyone expecting a pitching change.
But he walked past the pitcher’s mound & into left field & exchanged words with Cleon Jones. Then he started walking back to the dugout, with Jones walking a few feet behind him, removed from the game.
They had tied for a first place a few times during the year, and as late as September 9th were in a tie for first place. In 1971 the Mets were in first place for much of April & May, falling to second place in early July 4 ½ games back. This year they faded from the All Star break on, finishing with the same 83-79 record 14 games back of the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, in third place.