LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Former major league outfielder Jim Hickman has died.
He was 79. The cause of death was not disclosed.
The Tennessee-born Hickman known by teammates as “Gentleman Jim” was most known for playing for the hapless Mets (1962-1967) but he also played for the LA Dodgers (1967), Chicago Cubs (68-73) and St. Louis Cardinals (1974.)
Hickman held a variety of Mets batting records and firsts — not a hard task in the early days when few of their hitters were of major league quality. He was the first Met to hit for the cycle and the first to hit three home runs in one game.
In his 13-year career, Hickman batted .252 with 159 home runs and 560 RBIs in 1,421 games played.
He played in 65 games for the Dodgers in 1967, the only year in his professional career he did not hit at least one home run. Before the 1968 season started, he and Phil Regan were traded to the Cubs for Jim Ellis And Ted Savage. It turned out to be a great trade for Chicago.
Hickman’s best year professionally was 1970 playing for the Cubs. He hit .315 with 32 home runs, 115 RBIs and scored more than 100 runs. He won Comeback Player of the Year and finished 8th in MVP voting. Hickman also drove in the winning run in that year’s All-Star game.
In his later years, he became known as a hot bat off the bench.