One of the big perks of playing for an expansion team has to be the opportunity to set a number of franchise firsts. James Lucius Hickman-known to friends, family, and fans as "Gentleman Jim"-came to the Mets in the 1962 expansion draft and stuck around until 1966. During his five year tenure, Hickman broke a lot of new ground for the Metropolitans. He drew the first walk in Shea Stadium history. Two innings later, he became the first batter to be hit by a pitch in the new digs. Back in the Polo Ground days, Hickman stroked, in order, a single, double, triple, and homer off St. Louis Cardinals pitching to become the first Met to hit for the cycle.
Gentleman Jim added two additional records to his name on this date in 1965. Again facing the Cardinals, Hickman took Ray Sadecki deep in the second, fourth, and sixth innings, making him the first Met to hit three home run in a game. The last long ball also happened to be Hickman's 53rd as a Met, which made him the team's all-time leader. Seven other players have since joined Jim in the Mets' three-home run game club, including Gary Carter, who did it on this date in 1985. More on the Kid tomorrow...
Ced Landrum (1993) is 49 years old. Landrum made just 20 plate appearances as a Met. About the best that can be said about him is that he's a career 1.000 hitter against Greg Maddux. Granted, it's a small sample size. Actually, it's the smallest sample size (1-for-1), but let the record show that perhaps the greatest pitcher of his generation found it impossible to get Ced Landrum out.
The Mets and Phillies squared off for a doubleheader on this date in 1973. Jerry Koosman helped the Mets inch closer to the division lead in the first game by tossing a complete game shutout, besting fellow lefty Steve Carlton in the process. Ultimately, it was a one step forward, one step back day for the Mets, as they dropped the nightcap by a 6-3 score. What makes the loss notable, though, is that it was the first start of Craig Swan's career. The rookie couldn't make it through five innings, getting the hook one batter after giving up a long home run to Greg Luzinski. Swan bounced back and forth between the Mets, the minors, and the DL for the next two seasons, but joined the rotation for good in 1976.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Charlie Sheen turns 47 today. In 1992, Sheen bought the ball that rolled through Bill Buckner's legs for $93,000. He sold it eight years later for $64,000. Now that's #WINNING transaction.