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A Tribute to No. 14

 
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 19152
Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Sun 6/12/22 9:25 pm    Post subject: A Tribute to No. 14 Reply with quote

So finally, my story about the evening of June 4, 2022 at Dodger Stadium:

The history of retired numbers in Major League Baseball is interesting, as the first one retired was done so by the Yankees in 1939 for Lou Gehrig. From that year until 1970, only 18 other numbers were retired by MLB teams.
The Dodgers did not retire any numbers at all until June 4, 1972—50 years ago last Saturday—and did so for three Hall of Famers, Jackie Robinson (42), Roy Campanella (39) and Sandy Koufax (32). The famous picture of those three is significant for many reasons, but it was also the last time Jackie Robinson appeared in person at Dodger Stadium, as he passed away later that year.
So, when last December it was announced that former first baseman Gil Hodges--who had passed away two months before the Dodgers' initial Hall of Fame jersey retirements--was being inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer, I wanted to be sure to be present for the ceremony honoring him at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers had not retired any numbers since the last two players to go into the Hall—centerfielder Duke Snider, in 1980, and pitcher Don Sutton in 1998. I was at Dodger Stadium for both occasions. That makes it 24 years since such a ceremony has taken place, with the other Dodger HOFers in attendance in support. I still remember Hall of Fame shortstop “Pee Wee” Reese not looking so well when he was in attendance for Sutton’s jersey retirement; Reese would die a year later. It was most likely one of his last public appearances. Just one Dodger Hall of Fame player is still alive—after Sutton’s passing in 2020, only the immortal Sandy Koufax at age 86 remains.
When I saw on the schedule that the Dodgers were playing at home on Saturday, June 4—against the New York Mets—I knew that I had to be there. The Gil Hodges bobblehead was announced as a promotional item, and I knew that No. 14 would be retired because it had to coincide with the 50-year anniversary of the first three Dodger retired numbers.
The "Boys of Summer", that Brooklyn Dodgers team, must have been quite a fraternity, and what a special group of players it was who were with the Dodgers when they transitioned from Brooklyn to L.A. Koufax, Drysdale, Hodges, Reese, Snider and Campanella were among the HOF players who would move west, along with guys like Carl Erskine, Don Newcombe, Junior Gilliam and Carl Furillo, and would be among the “original Los Angeles Dodgers” for the first game in the Memorial Coliseum.
On June 4, 2022, what a moment it was when No. 14 was unveiled as the latest retired number in the Dodgers’ Ring of Honor, alongside the aforementioned players, plus their Hall of Fame broadcasters. What a spine-tingling moment! It was wonderful to see Jaime on the field with the Hodges family on Saturday night. He’s someone who has called Dodger games since 1959 when Gil was still playing for L.A., and the team would go on to win that world championship that year. On this gorgeous Saturday evening at Chavez Ravine, Gil’s children, Gil Jr. and Irene, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Charley Steiner also narrated a recitation of Hodges’ accomplishments accompanied by highlights on DodgerVision.
The only downside to the evening, other than the final score with the Dodgers on the wrong end, was the fact that they were cursed with those horrible City Connect unis instead of wearing the traditional crisp, white jerseys adorned with blue script that the Dodgers have worn continuously for so many decades. A touch of class and their proud uniform heritage would have been welcome especially on this night, in honor of their illustrious history, as Gil’s achievements were being celebrated.
As a baseball fan, I feel so blessed to have been able to watch so many Hall of Famers wearing a Dodger uniform, although unfortunately I couldn’t fully appreciate all of their talents since I was still a toddler when some of them retired. Somewhere in my mom’s belly, this soon-to-be-born fan was giving a kick when Gil and company won the 1959 world championship.
I suspect the next retired number for Dodger blue will be No. 22, and I intend to be there for that one, too.
On a side note, I will also always be grateful to Mike Scioscia and Kiké Hernandez, both of whom proudly wore #14 for the Dodgers over the years. Though neither has HOF credentials, they, like Hodges, contributed to world championships, one as a backstop and the other as a gutty role player. Kiké will always be the answer to a trivia question, which was the last Dodger player to wear it.
Long live the memory of Gil Hodges. #SiempreDodgers #SiempreCatorce #14
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"The Dodgers have always occupied an enormous place in the history of the game. If the Yankees are the most successful team in baseball history, the Dodgers are the most essential. Their legacy is unique."

-Baseball Hall of Fame
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sunnyblue



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3122
Location: San Diego County, CA

PostPosted: Mon 6/13/22 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm so happy for you that you go to be there! I'll see it in the Ring of Honor next time I'm at a game there!
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forloveofthegame



Joined: 23 Oct 2009
Posts: 6936
Location: San Diego

PostPosted: Mon 6/13/22 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a nice report. It reminds me of our old friend Gil Hodges Fan! Did she go?
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dodgerblue6



Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 19152
Location: San Diego CA - deep in the heart of SoCal

PostPosted: Mon 6/13/22 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She didn't! But I did share this with her, and she appreciated it! Smile
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"The Dodgers have always occupied an enormous place in the history of the game. If the Yankees are the most successful team in baseball history, the Dodgers are the most essential. Their legacy is unique."

-Baseball Hall of Fame
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