Hall of Fame baseball coach Gene Etter calls Wes Hodges ’03 “possibly the best player I ever coached,” which is pretty high praise from the man who skippered the Baylor baseball program for 41 years. His selection to the Baylor Sports Hall of Fame can be supported by statistical as well as anecdotal evidence.
At Baylor, the slick-fielding shortstop hit .375 as a sophomore, .374 as a junior, and finished at .415 his senior year, the year that he captained the Raider squad and led Baylor to its first ever state championship. It is also the year he was forced by a wrist injury to bat lefthanded for the first time ever. “Wes broke a bone in his left wrist after the fourth game,” remembers Etter. “The doctor told him he could play if he could stand it, and batting lefthanded was much less painful. Never swinging lefthanded before, hitting over .400 was an amazing thing!”
Hodges earned four varsity baseball letters at Baylor, was named to the Chattanooga Times Free Press Best of Preps team and was the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Associations’ Player of the Year. With Hodges, Baylor won four district championships, three region titles, was state runner-up in 2002, and won the state crown in 2003.
Turning down a 13th-round draft by the Chicago White Sox, Hodges continued his career at Georgia Tech where he hit .349 (.397 as a sophomore) with 24 homers and 150 RBI in a three-year career. He was an All-ACC third baseman for the Jackets when they won the 2005 ACC championship and helped lead Tech to the College World Series in 2006. Hodges also played on the USA National Team in 2005.
Hodges was the 69th overall pick of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft, the highest compensated pick for the Cleveland Indians that year. In a six-season minor league career, he played for the Kinston Indians (A) in 2007, the Akron Aeros (AA) in 2008, the Columbus Clippers (AAA) from 2009-2011, and the Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA) in 2012. He was named to the Carolina League Post-Season All-Star team in 2007, was Eastern League Rookie of the Year in 2008 and named to the league’s Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star teams, and played in the 2008 Futures Game at Yankee Stadium.
After spending much of his 2012 season on the injured list, Hodges retired in 2013 and completed work for his degree from the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech. In 2015, he founded Pure Sports Capital where he provides financial counseling for professional athletes.