Bob Gibson welcomed Jim Ray to the big leagues in 1963 by breaking his shoulder blade with a fastball in the back. A few days after Hart’s return, he was beaned by Curt Simmons and missed the rest of the season.
But in 1964, his first full year, the stocky strongman proved he wasn’t gun-shy with a San Francisco rookie record 31 homers. Until a 1969 shoulder injury made him a part timer, he averaged 28 homers a season. On September 8, 1970 he hit for the cycle and tied a major-league record with six RBI in one inning.
Although the former North Carolina cotton picker was so quiet it was said a soft chuckle was a whole conversation for him, he was vocal about his hatred of playing third base: it was “just too damn close to the hitters.”