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Al Jackson, left-hander on original Mets and former Orioles pitching coach, dies at 83

Al Jackson, left-hander on original Mets and former Orioles pitching coach, dies at 83
In this April 15, 2015, file photo, former New York Mets player Al Jackson, who pitched for the Mets from 1962-65, throws out the first ceremonial pitch before a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field in New York. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

Al Jackson, a tough left-hander who provided a rare glint of hope in the early days of the woebegone New York Mets, has died at 83.

His death was announced by the Mets, for whom he worked for 50 years as a pitcher, major league coach, minor league pitching coordinator and front-office adviser. He died Monday at a nursing home in Port St. Lucie, Florida, after a long illness.

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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.”

Jackson pitched in the majors for 10 seasons, and no season was more challenging than the one in 1962 when the expansion Mets entered the majors and lost 120 games. “Little” Al Jackson, although he was 5-foot-10, had a record of 8-20 and 4.40 ERA. The next two years he went 13-17 and 11-16.

Jackson was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966 for Ken Boyer. He joined the majors with Pittsburgh in 1959 and for his career went 67-99 with a 3.98 ERA. He later was pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox and Orioles. He served in Baltimore from 1989 to 1991, helping the ’89 “Why Not?” Orioles rebound from the worst record in franchise history to stay in playoff contention until the final weekend of the season.

Jackson was born in Waco, Texas. He is survived by his wife, Nadine, sons Reggie and Barry and two grandchildren.

Baseball: An Orioles home jersey worn by Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson in 1968 was auctioned for $38,400 on Sunday night by Robert Edward Auctions in Los Angeles. The jersey drew 34 bids. The white flannel jersey is lettered “Orioles” across the front and features the number “20” on the left breast and reverse. “F. Robinson” is lettered on the reverse directly above the number. Robinson inscribed the jersey “Frank Robinson #20” in blue directly below the front number. The jersey is original as issued, with no alterations, and displays moderate-to-heavy wear, including light staining throughout.

Soccer: The Big Ten men’s soccer tournament semifinal and championship games will be played at Maryland’s Ludwig Field in College Park. The two semifinal games will be played Friday, Nov. 15 and the championship game Sunday, Nov. 17. ... The U.S. Soccer Federation has selected Audi Field to host the inaugural match of the Concacaf Nations League for the U.S. Men’s National Team when they face Cuba on Oct. 11 in in Washington. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

College football: Towson is ranked No. 12 in the American Football Coaches Association Football Championship Subdivision Preseason Top 25 poll.

Lacrosse: Tickets are now on sale for the 2019 National Lacrosse Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, hosted by US Lacrosse on Saturday, October 19 at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley. Tickets can be purchased online at uslacrosse.org/HOF. This year’s Hall of Fame Ceremony, presented by RPS Bollinger and the Markel Insurance Company, features nine inductees as the Class of 2019. The inductees are: Ryan Boyle, Charlie Coker, Kara Ariza Cooke, Rachael Becker DeCecco, Sarah Forbes, Cathy Nelson Reese, Matt Striebel, Paul Schimoler, and Richard Speckmann.

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