Jim Ray Hart
From BR Bullpen
James Ray Hart
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 185 lb.
 Biographical Information
"His power is beyond our fondest expectations. - coach Hank Sauer
Stocky Jim Ray Hart was a slugging third baseman during the second dead-ball era who played most of his major league career with the San Francisco Giants. A good hitter (career .278) with great power and a long, looping swing , he struck out less than most sluggers. Hart's shortcoming was his fielding, which relegated him to the minors for some prime years of his career. In today's game, he would would have been the ideal designated hitter.
In the minors in 1961-63 with Fresno, Springfield, and Tacoma, he hit over .300 each time.
Hart came up to the majors at age 21 in 1963 when Jim Davenport was the third baseman with the Giants. Davenport had been the regular third baseman for the Giants since 1958, but Hart's presence forced Davenport in 1964 off third into a status as a revolving infielder who played a lot at each of shortstop, second, and third, a status Davenport would keep until he finally won back the regular third base job in the late 1960's.
Hart, as the regular third baseman in 1964, hit 31 home runs, his career high. He tied Orlando Cepeda on the team for the second-most home runs, with Willie Mays leading the team with 47 while Willie McCovey had 18 in 364 at-bats. Through 1968, Hart hit at least 23 home runs each year, and posted batting averages that were comfortably above the league averages each year.
Defensively, he made more errors than the average third baseman, and as he got older, his range began to slip below average as his weight increased.
The Giants Encyclopedia also says that injuries started taking their toll. He had been hit on the shoulder by Bob Gibson and beaned by Curt Simmons as a rookie in 1963, and in the late 1960's suffered a shoulder injury.
Starting in 1969, he had much less playing time and showed less power, and Jim Davenport won back the third base job. Hart had split his time between third base and outfield in 1967-68 and in 1969 was almost exclusively in left field. He moved back primarily to third base in 1970 where Al Gallagher was the regular while Davenport finished out his career as a back-up.
 Notable Achievements
- NL All-Star (1966)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1964-1968)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1964 & 1966)