Leaguer of the Month
Isiah "Ike" Jackson
Born: May 1, 1923 in Darling, Mississippi
Died: April 7, 1964 in Fresno, California
Ht:6'-1", Wt: 220
Batted and threw right
Position: catcher, first base, outfield
Playing Years: 1951-1957
Teams: Kansas City Monarchs, Carlsbad Potashers, Midland Indians, Regina Braves, Saskatoon Commodores
Ike Jackson was one of the last great slugging catchers in the Negro Leagues, having his greatest success as the Negro Leagues were nearing the end.
After several years of top black semipro ball, Jackson joined the '51 Kansas City Monarchs at age 28 and played catcher, right field, and occasionally first base when player-manager Buck O’Neil needed a rest. Other stars on the team included Ernie Banks, Hank Baylis, Connie Johnson, Lefty LeMarque and Bonnie Serrell.
In ’52, Jackson became the full-time catcher, and turned into a first-rate receiver, working with a fine staff featuring Johnson, Booker McDaniels, Gene Richardson and Hank Mason.
After a month with the Monarchs in ’53, Jackson claimed to be five years younger than he actually was, and was signed to a minor league contract with the Carlsbad Potashers of the Class C Longhorn League, where he made mincemeat of the competition.
In ’53, Jackson batted .388 in 122 games to lead the league, with 190 hits, 28 doubles, 12 triples and 18 homers. In ’54, Jackson almost repeated his ’53 numbers with a .383 average, good for fourth in the league, with 215 hits, 48 doubles, 10 triples and 26 homers. Jackson’s 26 dingers paled in comparison to the league leader, though, as Joe Bauman blasted 72, the most in Organized Baseball history!--we won’t include the steroid-aided Barry Bonds’s 73 in 2001.
After another successful season in ’55 (.299, 36 doubles, 6 triples, 12 homers), Jackson was promoted to the Midland Indians of the Class B Southwestern League where he batted .347, with 38 doubles, 6 triples and 31 homers, fifth most in the league.
Despite a career average of .355 in the minors, Jackson quit Organized Baseball at age 33 and ventured up to Canada where he spent the rest of his career.
In 1957, Jackson was signed by the Regina Braves of the Western Canada League, and the following season he played for the Saskatoon Commodores of the same league, helping them win the league pennant with his powerful hitting and fine catching.
Jackson died a month short of his 40th birthday.
*Some information provided by the website www.attheplate.com.