Ransom Joseph ‘Randy’ Jackson Jr., an all-star third baseman with the Chicago Cubs in the mid-1950s and the last Brooklyn Dodger to hit a home run, died at home in Athens Wednesday after a brief illness, according to a family friend. He was 93 years old.
Nicknamed “Handsome Ransom,” Jackson played for the Cubs from 1950-55 and in 1959. He also spent two-plus years with the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles and parts of 1958 and 1959 with the Cleveland Indians. Over 10 big-league seasons, the third baseman batted .261 with 103 home runs. He was the oldest living Los Angeles Dodger at the time of his death.
Jackson was selected to the National League All-Star team in 1954 and 1955 but his best year was 1953 when he hit .285 with 19 home runs.
Injuries limited Jackson to 48 games in 1957, the Dodgers last year in Brooklyn. In the next-to-last game at the Philadelphia Phillies, he hit his second home run of the season and the last by a Brooklyn player. The Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles in 1958.
Jackson didn’t know it was an historic homer until some 30 years later when his son, Chuck, called to tell him he was the subject of a trivia question on the television show Good Morning America. In his autobiography, Accidental Big League, co-authored with Gaylon White, he related the story. “They asked, ‘Who was the last Brooklyn Dodger to hit a home run,” Chuck said. “Dad, the answer was you!”
As a collegiate football player, he is the only player to appear in back-to-back Cotton Bowls for different schools, the first in 1945 for Texas Christian University and the second in 1946 for the University of Texas.
As a National League All-Star, he shared the field with such baseball greats as Stan Musial, Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle. With the Dodgers he played alongside Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, Don Newcombe, Carl Erskine, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
In Jackson’s final at bat for the Cubs in 1959, he pinch-hit for Billy Williams, a 21-year-old rookie who went on to hit 426 homers in a Hall of Fame career.
Jackson was born Feb. 10, 1926, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
He moved his family to Athens, Georgia, in 1956 and on leaving baseball in 1959, went into the life insurance business. In 1972, he met and married his wife of 47 years, Terry Yeargan.
Jackson is survived by wife Terry; and their six children and spouses – Randy and wife, Laurie; Chuck and wife, Anna; Ann and husband, Clay, Ginny and husband, Bill; Meredith and husband, Kenny; Ransom and wife, Lara; 13 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, March 30, at Chapelwood United Methodist Church, 100 Janice Drive in Athens.
Memorial donations may be directed to the Boys and Girls Club of Athens and the Chapelwood United Methodist Church choir.
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