In 1956 when he was only nineteen, James Lucius Hickman, a native of Henning, Tennessee, broke into organized baseball with Albany in the Georgia-Florida League. After six years in the minors spent with Winston-Salem, Billings, Tulsa, Dallas, Rochester, and Portland, he was selected by Casey Stengel’s New York Mets in the 1962 expansion.
After five seasons with the Mets, Hickman went to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In midseason 1968, Jim got his second big break: he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, the team with which he would stay for the next six seasons.
The 1970 season was Hickman’s greatest, with stats of which any major leaguer would be proud. The outfielder posted a .315 batting average which was the tenth highest in the National League. With an on-base percentage of .421 and a slugging percentage of .582, Hickman put fear in the hearts of Cubs opponents all season long. He hit thirty-two home runs, thirty-three doubles and four triples and drove in an amazing 115 runs. On top of that, Jim delivered ‘the hit,’ a line drive single to centerfold in the twelfth inning of the all-star game at Cincinnati that scored Pete Rose and gave the National League a five to four victory.
In 1974, Hickman hung up his glove after a season at St. Louis, ending an exemplary career in major league baseball.