Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Grant Jackson (#174)

[I was going to feature Johnny Callison here today, but I can't find his card on my computer. That's ok, this card has a red, white & blue look to it.]

Grant Jackson began his career with 4 full seasons in Philly, before moving on to the Orioles, Pirates, and others.

Jackson was signed by the Phillies in 1961, and was a starting pitcher for 5 seasons (1962-66) in the minors. He pitched in 6 games for the Phillies in September 1965, and 2 games in 1966 before making the majors to stay at the start of the 1967 season.

During his true rookie season of 1967, Grant was the only lefty in a bullpen headed up by veterans Turk Farrell and Dick Hall. Jackson made 43 appearances (including 4 starts), striking out 83 batters in 84 innings. His role was the same in 1968. Although his record was 1-6, his ERA was below 3.00. Jackson was a switch-hitter, with 3 hits in 10 at-bats in 1968.

In 1969, veteran ace Chris Short missed all but 2 games with a back injury. Jackson slid into Short's spot in the starting rotation and became the workhorse of the staff, pitching 253 innings and collecting 180 strikeouts while compiling a 14-18 record and a 3.34 ERA. He was also selected to his only all-star game that season.

Jackson remained in the Phillies' starting rotation in 1970, but had an off-year. Short had returned from injury, the team re-acquired Jim Bunning, and Rick Wise emerged as the #1 starter, leaving Jackson at #4. His record fell to 5-15 while his ERA ballooned to 5.25. After the season he was traded to the Orioles for outfield prospect Roger Freed.

Grant worked out of the O's bullpen for 5 1/2 seasons, and appeared in the post-season in '71, '73, and '74. In June 1976 he was part of a 10-player trade, going to the Yankees with catcher Elrod Hendricks and pitchers Doyle Alexander, Ken Holtzman, and Jimmy Freeman for catcher Rick Dempsey and pitchers Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez, Rudy May, and Dave Pagan.

Jackson remained with the Yankees only for that season, but pitched in three games in the post-season. In November 1976 he was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the expansion draft, who traded him to the Pirates a month later for shortstop Craig Reynolds.

Jackson spent the next 5 seasons in the Pirates' bullpen, and faced his old Orioles team in the 1979 World Series.

In September 1981, he joined the Expos during their playoff push, but was shipped out to the Royals in January. Jackson was released by Kansas City in July 1982, and was picked up by the Pirates on September 8th. He pitched his last game that day, and was released following the season.

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