Top 100 Mets #76: Al Jackson

Al Jackson's won - loss records were never attractive while donning the Metropolitans uniform during the club's early years, but he went out, start after start, and gave it his all. Despite the Mets ugly offensive prowess, the left-hander stood strong and made the trip to the mound knowing full well that the outcome wasn't likely to be a victory. For that, he earns our nod as the seventy-sixth Greatest Met.

Jackson was signed prior to the 1955 season by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent and the Mets would pick him up seven years later in the expansion draft.

When it came to being on the league's leaderboard, Jackson, at least during the first five years of the Mets existence, was always in the top ten in losses. In 1966, he had fifteen losses, fifth most in the game, but was also sixth with a stellar 2.51 ERA.

He was their ace and one of their few bright spots at a time when the club was looking to establish an identity.

When you asked players who were part of those lovable underdogs about who they thought was their best teammate, Al Jackson always seemed to pop up. He had that type of presence despite the team's woeful play.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

1962

Mets

8-20

231.1

244

78

118

4.40

1963

Mets

13-17

227

237

84

142

3.96

1964

Mets

11-16

213.1

229

60

112

4.26

1965

Mets

8-20

205.1

217

61

120

4.34

1968

Mets

3-7

92.2

88

17

59

3.69

1969

Mets

0-0

11

18

4

10

10.64



In 1964 the Mets saw their first competitive action in the club's brief history, actually finding themselves in a spot where they could spoil a pennant race down the stretch. In a three game series as the close of the season was drawing near, the club had a chance to ruin the Cardinals hopes.

Jackson would chip in a 1-0 masterpiece over Bob Gibson and the Cardinals during the first game, one of Al's three shutouts on the season. Ed Kranepool would prove to be the difference with a hit that drove home the decisive run.

The Mets would then take the second game, scoring fifteen runs off Ray Sadecki, but the team dropped the third game as the Cardinals entered the playoffs and would later beat the Yankees in the World Series.

The team would ship him to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1965 offseason, along with Charley Smith, for Ken Boyer, but would get him back in 1967 for Jack Lamabe.

Former Mets general manager Steve Phillips, in June of 1999, went out and overhauled the coaching staff in hopes of generating a winning streak. As coaches Bob Apodaca, Tom Robson, and Randy Niemann were fired, Dave Wallace, Al Jackson and Mickey Brantley were brought on board Bobby Valentine's staff.

Al came to the Mets in 1962 and would retire, after numerous other baseball stops, following the 2000 season, a World Series appearance, as the team's bullpen coach.

Former Reds outfielder Vada Pinson described the pitcher, according to BaseballLibrary.com, as "Very competitive, small, big heart - he knew how to pitch. He fought you every kind of way to help beat you."

He came in a winner and left as one, making him our seventy-sixth Greatest Met.

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