2019-08-20 14:25:55 UTC
Al Jackson, an original Met, dead at 83
By Mike Puma
August 19, 2019 | 5:00pm | Updated
Al Jackson was remembered Monday for his fierce competitiveness on the mound and affable nature away from it.
The former Mets pitcher and longtime instructor within the organization died at age 83 after a long illness. Jackson had spent recent years in a nursing home in Port St. Lucie, Fla., dealing
with complications from a stroke.
Jackson, a left-hander, went 67-99 with a 3.98 ERA in 10 major league seasons. He was an original Met in 1962 and spent five seasons with the club before he was traded to the Cardinals as part of a deal for Ken Boyer.
Jackson returned to the Mets in a trade following the 1967 season. But Jackson was sold to the Reds early in the ’69 season and missed out on the Mets’ historic ride to a World Series title. Jackson started his career with the Pirates in 1959.
“He was always a happy-go-lucky guy and a great athlete,” said Ed Kranepool, a former teammate of Jackson’s with the Mets. “He could throw strikes and he was a very good competitor.”
Following his playing career, Jackson served the Mets in a variety of roles, including as a coach with the major league team. He had become a mainstay at spring training.
“He was an asset to the organization because he eventually moved to Port St. Lucie and worked in the Mets’ minor leagues and with the kids who lived there,” Kranepool said.
The Mets said in a statement: “It would be impossible to calculate the number of players and staff he touched and influenced during his career.”
Mickey Callaway tried to downplay his first series against the Indians since leaving the organization before last season to manage the Mets. Callaway spent five years as Indians pitching coach, including 2016 when the team went to Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs. His former boss, Terry Francona, is still in the Indians dugout.
“Hopefully I can help out some of the pitchers with how to attack some of their hitters,” Callaway said. “That is about it.”
The Mets released their 2020 spring training schedule, which begins on Feb. 22 with a split-squad game. The Mets will host the Marlins that day and send the other half of the squad to Jupiter, Fla., to play the Cardinals. The Mets’ Grapefruit League season is scheduled to conclude March 22 at home against the Marlins.