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