Friday, November 3, 2017

Grant Jackson Autographed Card

Grant Jackson's Major League career was comprised of ups and downs, but it started with a bittersweet moment; becoming his family's main bread-earner, as his father had died when Grant was still in high school, so when the Philadelphia Phillies came to him with a contract offer that included a $1500 bonus, he jumped on it immediately and signed on the spot. Days later, the Milwaukee Braves and Baltimore Orioles each offered him a much bigger bonus [of $35,000], prompting this reflection: "I wish I could have called the Phillies back and told them I wasn't going to accept their offer."

That didn't stop him from playing for the team for six seasons (1965-70), which included a spot in the 1969 All-Star Game, although he did not play. He was then traded to the Orioles with Jim Hutto and Sam Parrilla, for Roger Freed.

From 1976 onward, it became more hectic, as he made his way to the New York Yankees via trade, the Seattle Mariners via expansion draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates via trade, the Montréal Expos via purchase, the Kansas City Royals via trade and a final turn with the Pirates as a free agent.

In the 1970s, he appeared in three world Series (1971 - Orioles; 1976 - Yankees; 1979 - Pirates), earning the final win for Pittsburgh in Game 7 in 1979. He still lives in the suburbs of Pittsburgh to this day.

Although he played with many Hall of Famers throughout his career (Tim Raines, Gary Carter and Andre Dawson come to mind from his short stint with the Expos), he has a clear-cut idea on who the best player he's even played with is: "Willie Stargell was the star of our team [in Pitsburgh]. He was a great leader, on and off the field. He was the best player and best teammate I ever came into contact with. The day he died [April 9, 2001] was one of the sorriest days of my life."

He signed this card for me in blue sharpie around 2005, a couple of years after retiring from coaching in the Minors, at a card show in New York:
It's card #779 from Topps' 1982 Topps set, showing him wearing the Expos' red Spring raining t-shirt. He's wearing #23 here, although he never got to play with that number in Montréal; he wore #19 in 1981, and was traded to the Royals in March 1982, probably shortly after this picture was taken.

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