William Joseph Hicks
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.
- School University of Virginia
- High School Meriwether Lewis High School
- Debut September 18, 1959
- Final Game September 29, 1963
- Born April 7, 1933 in Ivy, VA USA
Outfielder Joe Hicks, a graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in education, arrived with the Chicago White Sox for a six-game trial in 1959. The left-handed swinger spent five years (1959-1963) in the major leagues, but slid back into the minors each year with the exception of 1962, when he spent the entire season in the "Show" with the Washington Senators. Hicks had signed on with the White Sox as an amateur free agent before the 1953 season and spent his first year with the Madisonville Miners of the Kitty League and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox of the Western League; between the two, he hit .385 with 17 homers.
Joe had two more good years, hitting .349 for Colorado Springs in 1954 and .299 for the Memphis Chickasaws in 1955, sandwiched around two years in the United States military in 1956 and 1957. On his return in 1958, the 25-year-old veteran had a good season split between the Indianapolis Indians and Colorado Springs again, hitting a combined .355 with 9 homers in 137 games. Joe spent 151 games with the Indianapolis Indians in 1959, hit .314 with 11 dingers and it was now time to go to Comiskey Park, which Joe did. It was September 18th; he appeared in 6 games went 3 for 7 for the American League pennant winners and things were looking good for the future.
Hicks went North with the White Sox out of spring training in 1960, appeared in 36 games, went 9 for 47 for a .191 batting average, and soon headed West for the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League where he hit .303 in just 32 games. Change was coming as he was left unprotected in the expansion draft, held on December 14th. He was picked by the Los Angeles Angels, but after the draft, AL President Joe Cronin forced the two new teams, the Angels and the "new" Washington Senators, to make four trades in order to retroactively respect some of the drafting rules he had failed to enforce while supervising the proceedings. As a result, Hicks went to Washington in return for young pitcher Dean Chance, who would become the Angels' first big star. For his part, Hicks got into only 12 games for the Senators in 1961, hitting .172, and spent the rest of his year in Indianapolis where he hit .278 in 81 games. The Washington Senators finished in a dead heat for last place with the Kansas City Athletics with 61-100 records, 47 1/2 games back.
1962 was a make or break year for Hicks, but he failed to live up to the task. Joe appeared in 102 games, had six homers and hit but .221. Hicks did lead the American League in pinch-hitting appearances with 61, but had just nine hits off the bench for a .147 average. This was his first full year without a trip to the minors and he wouldn't get this chance again. The Senators were as bad as Hicks, as they fell to dead last with a 60-101 record.
In an attempt to make things better the Senators sold Hicks to the New York Mets on December 20th. Joining an even worse team, Joe appeared in 56 games with the Mets in 1963, hit .226 with five home runs; since he couldn't hold a job with the two worst teams in the majors, his days in the big leagues were over. Lifetime, Joe was .221 with 12 home runs in 212 games. He finished out the 1963 season with the Buffalo Bisons of the International League where he hit .320 with 14 homers in 81 games. As for the Mets ... they went 51-111 in 1963. That was still an 11 game improvement over their historically awful previous season, but still...
Hicks played three more seasons (1964-1966), all in the minors with the Buffalo Bisons. During those three seasons, Joe hit .261 with 31 home runs. Hicks was now 33 years old and decided to end his eleven active seasons in professional baseball. His minor league career stats show he ended with a .313 batting average with 107 home runs in 971 games. After baseball Hicks became the director of athletic programs for the city of Charlottesville, VA.