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HomeSportsFormer Mets catcher Ron Hodges dies after brief illness, hospital stay

Former Mets catcher Ron Hodges dies after brief illness, hospital stay

Former Major League Baseball star Ron Hodges has passed away, a New York Mets spokesperson announced Friday. He was 74.

Hodges spent his entire big league career with the Mets. Team officials confirmed that Hodges died at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital after a short illness. New York selected Hodges in the second round of the 1972 amateur draft. During just his second season as a professional baseball player, he was promoted to the major leagues. He made his MLB debut in 1973.

Hodges finished his big league career with a .240 batting average, 19 home runs and 147 RBIs. His career spanned 12 years, with his career coming to a close in 1984.

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Hodges was born in Rocky Mount, Virginia. He attended Franklin County High School, before later going to Appalachian State.

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Hodges was brought up to the Mets from Double-A Memphis in 1973 because of injuries to Jerry Grote and Duffy Dyer. Hodges made his debut June 13, 1973, nine days shy of his 24th birthday, catching Tom Seaver’s complete game win over the San Francisco Giants.

He batted .260 with one home run and 18 RBIs in his rookie season, hitting a 13th-inning walk-off single against National League East-leading Pittsburgh on September 20.

In the top of the inning with a runner on first, Dave Augustine hit a two-out drive against Ray Sadecki that caromed off the left-field wall above the 358-foot sign. Cleon Jones threw to Wayne Garrett, and the shortstop relayed to Hodges, who tagged Richie Zisk trying to score from first in what became known as the “Ball on the wall play.” The Mets pulled within a half-game of first and took the division lead for good the following day behind Seaver’s five-hitter.

“I just remember so many key hits he got for us,” Jones said in a statement. “Any time he played, Ron always managed to do something to help us win.”

Hodges had one postseason plate appearance, walking against Oakland’s Rollie Fingers in Game 1 of the 1973 World Series.

“Playing in that ’73 season with the pennant drive in September is my favorite memory of my baseball career,” Hodges said in a 2018 interview with the Society for American Baseball Research.

He is survived by his wife, Peggy; sons Riley, Gray, Nat and Casey; sisters Aubrey, Carmen, Pat and Donna; and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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