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Jim Hickman – 1973 Topps #565

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ImageJames Lucius Hickman (born May 10, 1937 in Henning, Tennessee) is a former Major League Baseball player. Hickman was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent prior to the 1956 season. He spent six seasons in the Cardinals’ farm system until he was selected by the New York Mets in the expansion draft. In his five seasons with the Mets, with whom he played 624 games, Hickman batted .241 with 60 home runs with 210 RBI.
The best season of Hickman’s career was 1970 while with the Cubs. After playing in only 198 games from 1966-1968 and batting only .237 in 1969, he hit .315 with 162 hits, 33 doubles, 32 home runs, 115 runs batted in, 102 runs scored and 93 walks—all career highs which won him the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award and placed him 8th in the NL Most Valuable Player Imageballoting. He also made his only All-Star appearance at the Cincinnati Reds’ newly opened Riverfront Stadium where, in the 12th inning, his RBI single drove in hometown favorite Pete Rose for the winning run, Rose barreling over Cleveland Indian catcher Ray Fosse to score the run. Like Hickman, the pitchers of record were also Tennessee natives: Claude Osteen, Hickman’s Dodger teammate in 1967, was the winning pitcher, while Hickman collected the walk-off single off Clyde Wright—his eventual 1970 American League Comeback Player of the Year counterpart.  In his 13-year career, Hickman batted .252 with 159 home runs and 560 RBIs in 1421 games played.

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