The New York Mets drafted Jim Hickman, a career minor leaguer with the St Louis Cardinals, in the 1961 expansion draft. An original Met he would play a total of five seasons for New York before being traded to the Dodgers following the 1966 season. While with the Mets he was a steady player who put up some solid power numbers despite not hitting for much of an average. He also became a walking trivia answer as he became the first Met to accomplish several feats.
Hickman made his Met as well as his Major League debut on April 14, 1962 as a pinch hitter for pitcher Al Jackson. For the record he popped up to shortstop. He would eventually become a regular member of the Mets starting lineup, playing all three outfield positions. He didn’t hit for much of an average, just .245, but put up some decent power numbers in his first season, 13 home runs (3rd most on the team), 18 doubles with 46 RBIs.
In 1963, he hit just .229 but managed to lead the team with 17 home runs and 6 triples. But his biggest accomplishment occurred on August 7 at the Polo Grounds when he became the first player in franchise history to hit for the cycle in the Mets 7-3 victory over the St Louis Cardinals. It was a natural cycle meaning he hit a single, double, triple and home run in that order, at the time he was just the sixth player in Major League history to record such a feat. Hickman also became the answer to another trivia question a month later when he became the last player to hit a home run at the old Polo Grounds, the Mets home stadium during their first two seasons.
His numbers over the next two seasons were more of the same, in 1964 he hit .257 with 11 homers and 57 RBIs and in 1965 he hit .236 with 15 home runs and 40 RBI’s. In 1965, he accomplished another first in Met history when he became the first player to hit three home runs in a game on September 3 against the St Louis Cardinals, the Mets won the game 6-3.
Hickman missed a majority of the 1966 season with a wrist injury, appearing in only 58 games. Following the season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Ron Hunt in exchange for Tommy Davis and Derrell Griffith.
His final Met numbers were a .241 average with 60 home runs and 210 RBIs in 624 games.
While with the Mets Hickman wore number 9 from 1962-1965 and numbers 27 and 6 in 1966.
Jim Hickman also played for the following teams:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1967
Chicago Cubs – 1968-1973
St. Louis Cardinals – 1974