Ron Hodges, a stalwart of Major League Baseball and a lifelong New York Met, sadly passed away at 74. His death marks the end of an era for the Mets, where he dedicated his entire 12-year career. Hodges' journey to the Mets was a testament to his sought-after talent.
Initially drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1970 sixth round, he chose not to sign. The following year, both the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves showed interest in Hodges, drafting him in January and June, respectively.
However, it wasn't until the New York Mets picked him in the second round of the secondary phase in the 1972 January draft that Hodges committed to a Major League team. His ascent to the big leagues was swift, with his debut in June 1973 marking the start of an impressive career.
During his rookie year, Hodges quickly adapted to his role as the Mets' backup catcher and pinch-hitter. His first big league game was memorable, catching for Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. That same year, Hodges was part of the Mets' roster in the postseason, and although he didn't play in the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds, he made a significant appearance as a pinch hitter in the World Series' first game against the Oakland A's.
For eight seasons, Hodges excelled as a backup and pinch-hitter, maintaining a .233/.320/.314 slash line over 377 games. His breakout moment came in 1981, where in just 35 games, he achieved an impressive .302/.375/.419 batting line.
This performance led to increased playtime in 1982, sharing the role behind the plate with John Stearns and posting an above-average .246/.358/.373 in 276 plate appearances. 1983 marked a high point in Hodges' career as he became the Mets' Opening Day starting catcher, reuniting with Seaver.
He played in 110 games that season, maintaining a .260/.383/.308 slash line. The 1984 season was his last, concluding a career with 666 games and 1,683 plate appearances, boasting a .240/.342/.322 career batting average and accumulating 342 hits.
Hodges' departure is deeply felt across the baseball community. His commitment and contributions to the Mets and the sport itself leave a lasting legacy. We at MLBTR extend our heartfelt condolences to Hodges' family, friends, loved ones, and former teammates in this difficult time.