Friday, October 16, 2020

#119 Larry Jackson - St. Louis Cardinals

Lawrence Curtis Jackson
St. Louis Cardinals

  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  175
Born:  June 2, 1931, Nampa, ID
Signed:  Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent before 1951 season
Major League Teams:  St. Louis Cardinals 1955-1962; Chicago Cubs 1963-1966; Philadelphia Phillies 1966-1968
Died:  August 28, 1990, Boise, ID (age 59)

One of the most underrated National League starting pitchers for 14 seasons, Larry Jackson won 14 or more games 10 times, leading the league in wins with 24 in 1964.  His 194 career wins are the most for any right-handed pitcher since 1900 who never played for a first place team and therefore never reached the postseason.  A reliable workhorse, Jackson made the All-Star team in 1957, 1958, 1960 and 1963.

1950-1969 Phillies Postcards
He led the league in games started (38) and innings pitched (282) in 1960 and topped the league in 1966 with five shutouts.  He was also an outstanding fielder, as demonstrated by his perfect fielding percentages in 1957, 1964, 1965 and 1968.  Pitching for mostly bad teams, Jackson nevertheless compiled a lifetime record of 194-183 with a 3.40 ERA.  Drafted by the Expos in the 1968 expansion draft, Jackson chose to retire rather than report to Montreal.  He'd later serve four terms in the Idaho House of Representatives and ran for governor of the state in 1978.

Building the Set
March 31, 1994 in Vineland, NJ - Card #126
This is one of two cards my Dad and I purchased at the Cumberland Mall Baseball Card Show held in late March 1994.  I would have been home on spring break during my sophomore year of college, and the proximity of this baseball card show would have been too tempting to pass up.  We paid a steep $9 for this card, along with $6 for the Arnold Portocarrero (#53) card.

The Card / Cardinals Team Set
The price seems steep, but the card is in pristine shape.  In the early 1990s, the rookie card craze was in its waning years and as this is Jackson's rookie card maybe that's the reason the card was so pricey.  Flipping to the back, there's reference made to Jackson starting 25 games as a rookie in 1955.  At this point, the Cardinals weren't sure if he'd be a reliever or a starter for the team and it wasn't until 1959 that he became a full-time starting pitcher.  The middle cartoon panel references his fantastic season with the Class C Fresno Cardinals and the final panel highlights two no-hitters he threw during a high school double header.  I couldn't find any reference to that feat, but his SABR biography does mention him pitching both ends of a double header in 1951 for Boise Junior College.  He won both those games, pitching a no-hitter in the second.

1956 Season
Jackson actually served as the Cardinals' closer in 1956, saving 10 games and finishing fourth in the league in that category.  Over 51 appearances, he went 2-2 with a 4.11 ERA and 50 strikeouts over 85 1/3 innings pitched.

Phillies Career

The Phillies acquired Jackson and Bob Buhl (#244) from the Chicago Cubs on April 21, 1966 for three questionable prospects - John Herrnstein, Adolfo Phillips and Fergie Jenkins, who would go on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career.  He slid into the Phillies pitching rotation behind Jim Bunning and Chris Short, recording a 41-45 record over three seasons with a respectable 2.95 ERA.  He led the Phillies staff with a 2.77 ERA in 1968, but the team decided to leave the 37-year-old veteran unprotected in that offseason's expansion draft.  Selected by the Expos, Jackson held true to a promise he had made to retire unless he was playing for a west coast team.  As compensation for losing Jackson, the Phillies sent infielder Bobby Wine to the Expos, who became the team's first regular shortstop.

Jackson appears with the Phillies in the 1966, 1967 and 1968 Topps sets and he also received a few Phillies photo cards and oddball cards from that era.

1957 Topps #196
1959 Topps #399
1962 Topps #83
1964 Topps #444
1968 Topps #81

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1956 Topps #119
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (13):  1956-1968
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1978 TCMA The 1960s I #286

71 - Jackson non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 10/6/20.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Phillies Room
The Trading Card Database

In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year.  Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.

1 comment:

  1. In 1968 the Phillies used him as a pinch-hitter once (the only pitcher to have done so).
    He was also a pinch-runner every season for the Phillies.