Hodges did not have the success he had as a player behind the bench, at least yet. But when he managed the Senators to a 42-79 record for the rest of the 1963 season, that was good for a .347 winning percentage. 1964 saw him managed the team to a 62-100 record, a .383 percentage. 1965, 70-92, .432 and 1966, 71-88, .447. So, after he led the Senators to a 76-85 record for the 1967 season (.472), he could say his team got slightly better every season he was there.
The 1967 Mets finished last for the sixth straight season, having not finished any higher. What was encouraging though, was the fact the Mets were putting a much younger team on the field and it was showing a little improvement. Ed Charles was the only regular player above the age of 28, and he played in just 101 games. This rookie pitcher named Tom Seaver took center stage, going 16-13 with a 2.76 ERA in 1967. And something about him gave the impression he would not accept losing.
After manager Wes Westrum was let go toward the end of the season, the Mets were in search for their next field boss. Despite the five straight losing seasons in Washington, the Mets felt Hodges was leading them in the right direction. Still under contract, the Mets had to trade for him just like when they dealt him to Washington in 1963. They sent RHP Bill Denehy, who would pitch in three games in the 1968 season with Washington, and $100,000 to the Senators to get back Hodges.
We all know the rest of the story. Hodges did a lot of observing during his first season with the Mets. In 1968, he led the Mets to an all time best 73-89 record; finishing 9th and not last for the first time in their history. The Mets won the 1969 World Series in most improbable fashion, with Hodges and his leadership having much to do with it.
The rest of the discussion has been about why Hodges is not in the Hall of Fame. He gained over 60 % of the vote in three years when he was eligible and once again in 2007 and 2011 from the Veterans Committee. Heres hoping he gets elected soon, as today was the day the Mets went from being a doormat to a potential World Series Championship contender (45 years ago).