Jul 5, 2021

Remembering Mets History: (1962) Gil Hodges Last Career HR Comes In A 10-3 Mets Win

Friday July 6th 1962: On this day Johnny Keane's fourth place St. Louis Cardinals (45-37) came to New York's Polo Grounds to play Casey Stengel's tenth place Mets (22-57). The Cards sent future Met pitcher; Ray Sadecki (5-5) to the mound against the Mets' Roger Craig (4-11) in front of 14,515 fans.

Starting Lineups

In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Gil Hodges came to bat with one out. Thee Brooklyn Dodgers legend, who was  one of the most beloved National League New York ball players ever, was closing out his career back in New York with the Mets. He was brought back for nostalgia as well as being a gate attraction. 

Hodges took Sadecki deep, hitting a HR over the left center field wall. It was his 9th HR of the year putting the Mets up 1-0.

But even more importantly, this HR was historic as it was the last Hodges would hit in his fine career. It was HR #370 putting him at tenth on the all time list up to that point. It also put him at first on the National League list for HRs by a right handed batter.

Ralph Kiner- Kiners Korner
Trivia: After the game Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner interviewed Hodges on his legendary post game show; Kiners Korner. Ralph reminded the soft spoken slugger, that he had just broken the NL right handed HR record previously held by Kiner himself.

Hodges would play in just eight more games that season & retire in April of 1963. His legend would be made when he returned as Mets manager in 1968 leading to the Amazing Mets World Series win in 1969.

As for the rest of the game on July 6th, 1962 the Mets, the Mets would score a rare ten runs beating the Cards 10-3. The 1962 Mets scored double figures in runs just five times.  

In the Mets 3rd, Cliff Cook was on third base when Sadecki threw a wild pitch to Hodges, allowing Cook to score. Felix Mantilla added an RBI double.

In the 5th Mets Charlie Neal hit a solo HR to make it 5-0.

In a sloppy 8th inning, the Cards made two errors & allowed a bunt single, leading to six Mets runs. Mantilla & Chris Cannizzaro both singled. Then Roger Craig & Elio Chacon reached on errors. Jim Hickman singled & "Hot Rod" Kanhel hit his only grand slam HR of his career. It came off the Cards Bobby Shantz. Kanhel would  hit just six career HRs.

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