Nine to Know: In honor Randy Jackson

Dog, he’s not the guy from “American Idol,” this Randy Jackson was the last Brooklyn Dodger to hit a home run

Randy Jackson died this week at his home in Athens, Georgia at the age of 93. On September 28, 1957, Jackson hit a three-run homer off Don Cardwell of the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. It was the Dodgers next-to-last game as residents of Brooklyn and just Jackson’s second homer of the season. The Dodgers won that game, 8-4, their last Brooklyn Dodger win.

Here’s Nine to Know about some other lasts in baseball stadium history:

  1. The Brooklyn Dodgers lost the final game of the 1957 season to the Phils, 2-1, with Roger Craig taking the loss. It was the grand finale for the team from Brooklyn. Craig pitched seven innings before Roy Campanella pinch-hit for him in the 8th inning. The last Brooklyn pitcher on the mound was a 21-year old lefty by the name of Sandy Koufax. Campy never played in another major league game breaking his neck in a January 1958 car crash. Campy remained paralyzed the rest of his life.
  2. Speaking of Connie Mack Stadium, the last game played there was on October 1, 1970, when the Phillies edged the Expos, 2-1. Oscar Gamble‘s walkoff single scored Tim McCarver with the winning run. McCarver had singled and stolen second to get into scoring position.
  3. Speaking of the Expos, the team played their final game in their first home field, Parc Jarry on September 26, 1976. The Phillies were leading 2-1 after seven innings of the second game of a doubleheader when the rains came and the game and the ballpark were called. Pat Scanlon struck out to end the bottom of the 7th to end the inning, the game, and Jarry Park.
  4. The Dodgers weren’t the only team to leave New York at the end of the 1957 season, the Giants left the upper part of Manhattan and headed to San Francisco. The “Jints” played their last game at the Polo Grounds on September 29, 1957 losing to the Pirates 9-1. Bob Friend picked up the win while Johnny Antonelli took the loss. Dusty Rhodes drove in the sole Giants run with a sac fly and was the last Giants batter when he grounded out, Dick Groat to Frank Thomas.
  5. Now the Frank Thomas, mentioned above was not the Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. This Frank Thomas’ career ended in 1966 which is after his 1962-63 seasons with the fledgling New York Mets…whose home was the Polo Grounds. Once again, Thomas was on the field for the final final game at the Polo Grounds on September 18, 1963. The Phillies (again) were the opponents, this time defeating the Mets, 5-1 in front of a crowd of 1,752 loyalists. The final batter was Ted Schreiber who hit into a 4-6-3 double play, Cookie Rojas to Bobby Wine to Roy Sievers. Ah, the plays of Wine and Rojas.
  6. While we’re talking about the Mets, their final game at Shea Stadium was September 28, 2008 against the Florida Marlins. The Fish won that contest, 4-2. Ryan Church represented the tying run in the bottom of the 9th when he flew out to deep centerfield ending the game and ending the ballpark which seemed to located under every flight path coming out of and into New York.
  7. While we’re talking about the Marlins, born in 1993, the Marlins have been called the Florida Marlins and the Miami Marlins. The team has played in two home ballparks, the current one, Marlins Park, has been their home since 2012. Their first one had been called Joe Robbie Stadium, and then Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Land Shark Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, and Sun Life Stadium. In the final game at Sun Life, the Nationals behind Stephen Strasburg defeated Florida, 3-1. Logan Morrison struck out against Drew Storen to end the game. On September 27, 2011, Bryan Peterson hit the last Florida Marlins home run at Sun Life, a 9th inning walkoff shot. It was Peterson’s second home run of the season and the last of his career despite playing in 84 games the following season.
  8. While we’re talking about the Nationals, the 2007 season marked the second ending for RFK Stadium in Washington. I’ll give you two guesses who the Nationals hosted in the final game played there. If you guessed Philadelphia or the Phillies, you are correct. on September 23, 2007, Washington beat the Phils, 5-3. Jayson Werth struck out to end that ballpark’s life. The last home run hit at RFK was hit in the prior game, a 4-1 Philly victory, by Chase Utley. Utley ended his career last season going 0-18 in his last 19 appearances and not getting a hit after July 30.
  9. RFK Stadium had a previous life before hosting the Nationals serving as the home to the Washington Senators, now the Texas Rangers. On September 30, 1971 facing the New York Yankees that the Washington Senators led by manager Ted Williams would close their season, close RFK, and close out the Senators. In that final game, the Washington Monument, Frank Howard, hit the last Senators home run, a blast in the 6th against Mike Kekich. The Senators were winning this game 7-5 in the 9th. Washington pitcher Joe Grzenda, assisted only by consonants, retired Felipe Alou on a comebacker and then Bobby Murcer, on another tapper back to the mound. And then, the 14,460 fans further shared their displeasure toward the team and their owner Bob Short who were heading to Texas by running onto the field. Grzenda prepared to face Horace Clarke as one fan ran onto to the field and stole first base. And then hundreds, thousands of fans ran onto the field and started grabbing souvenirs. And, despite numerous warnings, despite the Senators 7-5 lead, the damn Yankees were declared the winners as the RFK Stadium closed due to a forfeit.

Last Lick – As fans were running toward Grzenda he considered throwing the ball at one to protect himself, but Grzenda kept the ball in his glove. From there it went into a Manila envelope, into a drawer in his bedroom. It was an American League Spaulding baseball, with Joe Cronin’s signature, made in the USA. Thirty-four years later, when the Washington Nationals began play in 2005, former Senators Frank Howard, Chuck Hinton, Mickey Vernon, Fred Valentine, Ed Brinkman, Roy Sievers, Dick Bosman, Jim Hannan and Jim Lemon handed over gloves to the current Nationals, and Joe Grzenda, provided the ball unused in 1971 to President Bush for the first pitch.

Rest in peace, Randy Jackson, we will not forget your place in baseball history.