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Former Dodgers Gil Hodges and Leo Durocher Were Two Very Different Managers

It’s important to note that while I have been critical of Andrew Friedman and the front office brain trust, what they are doing is working. The Dodgers are in first place 5 games ahead with 13 left to play on course to win their fourth consecutive NL West title. They have an 84-65 record and are 20 games above .500 at home. Whatever they are doing is working.

Dodger manager Dave Roberts has really done an excellent job this season managing through all of the injuries, platoons and percentages. I think Roberts and his never say die no nonsense mentality has been a huge difference. Generally a manager’s personality rubs off on his players. This is why we have seen the Dodgers come from behind in so many games this season.


Roberts is also doing a lot of things that are not considered sexy. They are hard to watch strategies and unconventional, yet can be very important during a long 162 game baseball season. Things like giving guys regular rest and not panicking during an opponent’s scoring rally can go a long way in the midst of a pennant stretch. I am sure that former players of the infamous 1969 Chicago Cubs can tell you this as well.

One of our commenters over here known as Sniderfan sent me a very interesting article written by Mort Zachter on the site. The article is on the differing styles between two managers during the 1969 National League baseball season. The two managers, former Dodger Gil Hodges who managed the New York Mets and other former Dodger Leo Durocher were as different as night and day.

Hodges was a highly respected calm practical manager. He rested his regulars, never ordered anyone to throw at anyone’s heads and remained even keel at all times. Durocher was the stark opposite who had a fiery disposition and a habit of playing his men into the ground without giving them any time off to recuperate or lick their wounds.

We know how the history books were written. The Cubs blew a huge 9.5 game lead as the “miracle Mets” went on to not only best the Cubs for the NL East division title, but wound up winning the World Series as well. What if the roles were reversed and Hodges managed the Cubs while Durocher managed the Mets? Would it have made a difference? That’s what Zachter questions in this fascinating article.

Enjoy guys!

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

13 thoughts on “Former Dodgers Gil Hodges and Leo Durocher Were Two Very Different Managers

  1. Gil Hodges is my all-time favorite Dodger. Perhaps his stats aren’t HOF worthy but why his #14 hasn’t been retired or not given out like Jim Gilliam’s number is beyond my comprehension.
    Gilly was the essence of “speak softy but carry a big stick”. He was loved and beloved by the fans and respected by teammates and opposing players as well.
    I remember one time Gilly was in a terrible slump and on a Sunday morning in church the priest told his congregation” It’s too hot for a sermon. Go home and pray for Gil Hodges”.
    Gilly also turned out to be a very fine manager. I remember one time, as manager, he called time during a game in which Cleon Jones did not run after a ball that got by him. Gilly called time and walked out to left field and told Jones he was out of the game for not hustling. Jones, very meekly, walked about 10 paces behind Gilly with his head slightly bowed. Quite an embarrassment to Jones and he never did it again.
    It was a warning to all players that if you don’t hustle, you don’t play no matter how good you think you are.

    1. I think and always will that Hodges has been totally ignored by the HOF and his stats are GOOD enough to merit induction. The old timer’s committee has twice failed to give Gil the necessary votes for induction. But his stats are similar to Tony Perez, and perhaps the most telling thing is that he was the BEST 1st baseman of his era. Name me one other 1B of that era with stats even close to Gil’s. You cannot because there weren’t any. # 14 should not be given out, and it should have been retired. Gilliam’s number is retired, and Gil’s should be too….It pains me to see a banjo hitter like Kike wearing #14.

      1. That’s why I don’t believe in stats(even though I do post them a lot). He was definitely a HUGE CREDIT to the game.

  2. Hodges, like Alston, was a quiet man. Agon is like that.

    Anyone that cheered for the Dodgers in the 50s probably yearns for a team like that again. Campanella, Hodges, Reese, Robinson, Snider, Furilo. Note the dominance of righty hitters. Snider was the guy that both benefited from teams wanting to pitch righties against that lineup and the guy that helped prevent that team from being susceptible to righties.

    The 2016 Dodgers might only need one righty swinger to step up from here on out to stop the susceptibility to lefties. That person wouldn’t have to ever be able to match Snider’s 5 year run of 40+ home runs, just remind us of him for 20 games. Puig?

    1. Bum
      There is no way that Puig is going to be able to step up, sitting on the bench so much.

      He has only been an everyday player.

  3. All the boys of summer were great. I am a Furillo/Erskine fan. Roberts said after the game that the team has been looking forward to this series; that the giants’ backs are against the wall; and the team has a chance to eliminate them. Blood in the water. Now, let’s see how they produce. It’s almost like this entire season was just to lead up to this and the next showdown. I can’t watch and will catch you all tomorrow.

  4. i was 14 when Erskine moved 4 house from me …got to go in the dodger dugout 2 time…then when he retired ,ed roebuck moved in the same house …but really never got to no him…but that was what made me a dodger fan.. i played baseball with carls two son ..gary and danny,, one was right handed and the other was left handed..and that is my story

  5. Alston and Lasorda were such opposites, but both men won games.

    I can see a big difference in this teams psyche, from when Mattingly managed this team.

    Most of the teams Mattingly managed, didn’t score much after the seventh innng.

    The fact that Roberts wasn’t a really good player like Mattingly, makes Roberts a much better manager.

    Because Roberts knows how hard this game is to play, epecially in the long season.

    Roberts had to work much harder, to play and stay in the majors, then Mattingly did.

    And because of that, Roberts can identify with almost every player, in the line up.

    Roberts also had to fight for his life.

    And because of all of this, Roberts has taught this team, to fight too.

    And add Roberts best ability which is dealing with people, makes Roberts the perfect guy to manage this team.

  6. I loved Gil, and despised Durocher. But the Duke was my favorite player. I wore his #4 in high school one year, and Sandy’s # 32 another. But I would have proudly wore # 14 anyday……

  7. Duke Snider clearly was my favorite player and will always be. Youthful idols I guess. But I believe that Hodges, Campanella, and Reese were the glue and anchors. They were the most evolved. Snider was the glamour and Robinson was the excitement and the guy that was bigger than baseball.

  8. Thank you for bringing attention to my piece on Gil Hodges. Ironically, the two managers Hodges outmaneuvered in 1969, Earl Weaver and Durocher, are in the HOF, but Hodges is not.

    For those who may not be familiar with him, the University of Nebraska Press recently published my biography of Hodges, “Gil Hodges: A Hall of Fame Life.” In 1955, Hodges was one of the core players on the Brooklyn Dodgers when their first, and only, World Series. In 1959, as a Gold Glove winning first baseman, he was a major part of the first Dodgers team to win a World Series in Los Angeles.

    Hodges died of a heart attack at 47 in 1972. Despite being enormously popular with fans in the 1950s and 60s, his name has largely been forgotten. This is unfortunate because Hodges embodied “integrity, sportsmanship, and character,” three qualities that are still listed as being part of the criteria to be considered when considering HOF candidates. As Sandy Koufax told me, “Hodges was not just a good player and manager; he was a special human being.”

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