A local favorite among New Yorkers during his years with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Gil Hodges was selected in the expansion draft to join the first Mets team in 1962. He played out the end of his career as a Met and later returned in 1968 as the team’s manager. Hodges proved to be a feared but beloved leader who instilled discipline and confidence in the young team. He is widely credited with putting together the formula that led the Miracle Mets to the franchise’s first World Series championship in 1969. Hodges was manager until spring training in 1972, when he died tragically young of a heart attack at age 47.
( C ) New York Mets (photo by Heritage Werks)