Sep 14, 2012

Short Time Early Sixties Mets Pitcher: Dave Hillman (1962)

Darius Dutton Hillman was born on September 14, 1927 in Dungannon, Virginia. The five foot eleven right-hander signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1950. In 1951 at Rock Hill in the Tri-state league he won twenty games, striking out 200 batters & pitched a no hitter.

The next season he rose through the ranks of the minor leagues getting to AAA Springfield. In 1954 he won 16 games posting a 3.32 ERA with 129 strike outs. In 1955 he was pitching for Los Angeles in the AAA Pacific Coast League earning a call up to the Chicago Cubs where he made 25 appearances.

In 1956 he was back at AAA Los Angeles where he won 21 games & was brought back to the Cubs where he was 0-2. Hillman would pitch five years in Chicago never having the success he had in the minors. In 1959 he was 8-11 with a 3.53 ERA, striking out 88 batters in 191 innings pitched. In May he posted his only career shutout coming against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field.

In November of 1959 he was sent along with Jim Marshall to the Boston Red Sox for Dick Gernert. The trade was groundbreaking, since it was the first inter league trade that did not include waivers up to that point due to a change in rules.

He spent two years in Boston as a middle reliever making 48 appearances going 3-5. In 1962 he began the year with the Cincinnati Reds but had his contract purchased by the expansion New York Mets on April 26th.

Hillman debuted as Met on April 28th at the Polo Grounds, pitching the 6th inning in a rare '62 Mets win. He allowed a run, a hit & a walk against the Philadelphia Phillies. In four appearances from May 16th through May 31st, Hillman allowed two or more runs three times including a horrific four run outing in one inning of work against the Los Angeles Dodgers. His best Mets moment came at Wrigley Field on June 9th when he earned his only Mets save.

Hillman would only appear in 13 games for the ’62 Mets allowing 11 runs in 15.2 innings pitched while posting a 6.32 ERA. In an eight-season career, Hillman posted a 21-37 record with three saves 296 strikeouts & a 3.87 ERA in 624 innings over 188 appearances.

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