October 30th, 2010

October 30 – Happy Birthday Jim Ray Hart

After hitting 157 home runs during a decade as a third baseman and outfielder with San Francisco, Hart was purchased by the Yankees during the 1973 season and hit 13 home runs. He played only ten games for New York the following year, his final season in the big leagues even though he was only 32-years-old at the time. Jim Ray was born in Hookerton, NC on October 30, 1941. I remember Hart’s rookie season of 1964 very well because it was a great year for rookies. He smacked 31 home runs for the Giants that year and hit close to .290 but finished tied for second with the Braves Rico Carty for NL Rookie of the Year honors behind the Phillie Pheenom, Richie Allen. In the AL the Twins Tony Oliva took first-year honors by winning the AL batting title as a rookie.

Hart was injured a lot during what should have been his peak performing years but what probably hurt his career most was his drinking. Booze had been a big part of Hart’s life since he was raised by a father who was a bootlegger. After his playing career ended, his addiction to alcohol took over his life completely and he at one time was homeless, living on the streets of San Francisco. In the early nineties, it was reported that Hart was off the booze, and back with his family living and working in Seattle.

Hart shares his October 30th birthday with this one-time Yankee slugger, this long-ago Yankee starting pitcher and this former Yankee reliever.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1973 NYY 114 378 339 29 86 13 2 13 52 0 36 45 .254 .324 .419 .742
1974 NYY 10 22 19 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 .053 .182 .053 .234
12 Yrs 1125 4236 3783 518 1052 148 29 170 578 17 380 573 .278 .345 .467 .813
SFG (11 yrs) 1001 3836 3425 488 965 135 27 157 526 17 341 521 .282 .348 .474 .823
NYY (2 yrs) 124 400 358 30 87 13 2 13 52 0 39 52 .243 .316 .399 .715
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/30/2013.