New York has a lot of well-known cemeteries, with a surfeit of burial grounds throughout Queens. Holy Cross Cemetery in central Brooklyn isn’t as famous, but it can boast of at least one celebrity burial to its name: Baseball legend Gil Hodges, who played first base for the Dodgers and later managed the New York Mets.
Gil Hodges wasn’t a Brooklyn native, as he was born and raised in Indiana. He was signed to the Dodgers in 1943, but only played one game before being shipped off with the Marines during World War II. When he returned to the team in 1947, he played alongside Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and Carl Furillo. He was appointed to the All-Star team eight times, and won two World Series with the Dodgers, in 1955 and 1959.
After being sent out to Los Angeles when the Dodgers left Brooklyn, Hodges would return to New York as part of the Mets, playing for one year and later coming back as manager in 1968, where he led the team to its 1969 World Series victory. He died of a sudden heart attack in 1972, while the team was in Florida for spring training. He was 47.
Gil Hodges was extremely popular in Brooklyn during his tenure with the Dodgers, supposedly being the only player who was never booed at Ebbets Field. After his death, numerous places were named for the first baseman, including the Marine Parkway Bridge, a community garden on Carroll Street, a Little League field in Coney Island, and part of Bedford Avenue (the longest street in the borough). But with the demolition of both Ebbets Field and Shea Stadium, his grave in East Flatbush is the most tangible shrine to his memory.
After being nominated dozens of times over the last few decades, Hodges was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in December 2021.
Know Before You Go
The main entrance to Holy Cross Cemetery is located at the T-junction of Tilden and Brooklyn Avenues. The nearest subway station is Beverly Road on the 2/5 line, a seven-block walk. The closest bus line is the B44 on Nostrand Avenue.