Brooklyn Dodgers First Baseman Gilbert "Gil" Hodges
Buried in Brooklyn's Holy Cross Cemetery, visitors often leave baseball memorabilia at the grave of the beloved former first baseman, and New York Mets manager. Hodges suffered a fatal heart attack, in 1972, after playing a round of golf in Florida. On what would have been his 48th birthday, over a 1,000 people waited on line outside a Brooklyn funeral home hoping to be admitted to pay their respects.
On the day of Hodges’ funeral fans stood behind police barricades for a glimpse of Hodges’ casket as it was being brought into church. Baseball luminaries --among them Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, players Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, pitchers Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax, and sports announcer Howard Cosell --filled the pews.
Brooklyn Bishop Francis J. Mugavero was the principal celebrant, while Hodges' pastor and friend, Father Charles E. Curley, gave the homily. ”Gil was a hero. All of us need heroes, though lately they seem to be in short supply. Here is one to look up to and imitate,” he told the congregation.