Roy Lee Jackson (Trading Card DB)

Roy Lee Jackson

This article was written by Malcolm Allen

Roy Lee Jackson (Trading Card DB)As far as Roy Lee Jackson was concerned, the highlight of his time in baseball wasn’t the 28 wins or 34 saves he compiled over 10 years (1977-1986) in the majors. Neither was it his induction into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. Instead, it was a conversation he had with a young autograph seeker in the parking lot outside of the Metrodome during Jackson’s final big-league season.

“I said, ‘Let me ask you a question. If you knew that Jesus was gonna be showing up on this particular day, this particular hour, would you be out here waiting on Him?’” Jackson recalled. “Believe it or not, 30 years later, he messaged me on Facebook, asked if I remembered him and said he never forgot that question. He said it really made him think. And he told me today he serves the Lord because of that… To me, that’s probably the most blessed moment of my whole career.”1

Jackson had become a born-again Christian while he was still trying to establish himself as a big leaguer. His strong faith aided his development into a reliable right-handed reliever at the top level and fueled his commitment to the ministry and helping others long after he left professional baseball.

On May 1, 1954, Jackson was born in Opelika, Alabama. He was the second oldest of Fred and Johnnie Jackson’s seven children. On a questionnaire that he filled out shortly after turning professional, Roy Lee described his father as a laborer, and his mother as an employee of the Head Start Institute.2

Opelika is in central-east Alabama, about 10 miles west of Lake Oliver, which separates the state from Georgia. “We spent a lot of time playing in the woods, climbing trees, picking blackberries,” Jackson recalled. Many of his relatives lived within a block or two in the close-knit community. “You grew up respecting all people. When there are principles of respect embedded in your childhood, that stuff sticks with you,” he reflected. “And this wasn’t just our family. It was all Black families.”3

When Jackson was eight, Alabama’s new governor, George Wallace, infamously declared “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever” in his inaugural address.4 Yet, Jackson recalled that his parents, teachers, and coaches did not dwell on racism. “They didn’t preach that victim mentality,” he said.5 “My father always told me, ‘Boy, ain’t nobody gonna give you nothin’. You’re gonna have to work for everything you get.’ That stuck with me… You learned to deal with it over time and that added a lot of toughness, being able to endure regardless of what the situation was.”6

Jackson was introduced to sports by an older cousin, John Oscar Grady. “We would steal our mother’s broom and cut the broom off,” he said. “We found us a rubber ball or something like that and we played baseball. After that we’d go up to the school to the basketball court. We’d leave that and we’d go play football. That was our way of life.”7

Jackson credited the directors of the Central Park Recreation Center for keeping sports affordable for Opelika’s kids.8 He also cited the influence of a white man named Elmer Ward. “When it wasn’t popular, he would come into our neighborhood and pick up the Black kids so we would have some place to play ball competitively.”9

At Opelika High School, Jackson was a quarterback/wide receiver for the football squad, a forward/guard in basketball, and a pitcher/first baseman for the baseball team.10 Once, he struck out 21 batters in a seven-inning game, and he later described “making Sports Illustrated in high school” as an amateur highlight.11 Jackson participated in a state All-Star game and spent his summers in a city semipro league, but reflected, “Honestly, I never ever thought about playing professionally. I thought about wanting to go to college, but I knew that my parents couldn’t afford for me to go… My only hope was to get a scholarship.”12

As a senior, Jackson was named the Opelika Bulldogs’ MVP in three sports.13 The Houston Astros selected him in the 12th round of the 1972 June amateur draft, but he didn’t sign. “The decision was made by me and my family,” he explained. “We looked at the value of being drafted that late as opposed to what I could accomplish in getting an education.” Jackson wanted to attend nearby Auburn University, but he wasn’t offered a tryout – much less a scholarship –despite being one of the state’s top-rated players. “The coach said he wasn’t doing that. I think that had something to do with racism, if you want to be quite honest about it,” Jackson said.14 (Auburn had integrated its sports teams in 1969 but the Tigers’ baseball squad did not feature any African American future big-leaguers until the 1980s, when Bo Jackson and Frank Thomas arrived.)

Two historically Black colleges from the Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) recruited Jackson. He turned down Florida A&M (where he would have teamed with future Hall of Famer Andre Dawson) and chose the Tuskegee Institute, located about 30 miles southwest of Opelika.15

Jackson majored in social work.16 On an early-career questionnaire, he described his hobbies as “Basketball and helping poor people and underprivileged kids.”17 During his freshman year, 1973, the Tuskegee Golden Tigers won their first league championship in 25 years. Jackson earned All-SIAC honors during each of his three seasons, compiling an overall record of 22-9 with a 1.51 ERA and 384 strikeouts in 251 innings.18 He was named the Golden Tigers’ MVP in his sophomore and junior seasons, when he also batted .404 and a team-leading .481, respectively.19 He gained more experience by pitching for the Springfield Caps in the summer Central Illinois College League.20

In 1975, Jackson’s 160 strikeouts led all Division II pitchers. Atlanta Daily World published a photograph of Tuskegee baseball coach Jim Martin presenting him with the inaugural Frank Bannister Memorial Award – for “the ball player at Tuskegee Institute who has excelled academically, with outstanding citizenship and who has shown potential of being a major league player.”21 Although no big-league team drafted Jackson following his junior season, he signed with New York Mets through scout Julian Morgan on June 27, 1975.22

That summer, Jackson made the All-Star team in the rookie-level Appalachian League by going 4-2 (1.44 ERA) in eight appearances (five starts) for the Marion (Virginia) Mets. He finished the year with the Wausau (Wisconsin) Mets of the Class A Midwest League, posting a 2.37 ERA in five starts. That offseason, Jackson worked for the Opelika-based Ampex Magnetic Tape Division.23

After seven outings for the Lynchburg (Virginia) Mets in the Class A Carolina League to begin 1976, Jackson was promoted to the Jackson (Mississippi) Mets of the Double-A Texas League, where he tossed four shutouts in 20 starts. On August 5 against the Lafayette Drillers, he went the distance and allowed only a fifth-inning single.24 Jackson finished 10-9 (3.13) between two levels, with personal bests of 12 complete games and 187 innings. He continued his ascent in the Venezuelan Winter League by posting a 5-2 (2.77) mark for the Aguilas de Zulia, plus a victory in the playoff semifinals.25

In 1977, Jackson advanced to the Triple-A International League (IL) and led the Tidewater (Virginia) Tides’ rotation with a 13-7 (3.70) record in 28 appearances (27 starts). He beat the Charlestown Charlies in the opening game of the IL semifinals, but it was the Tides’ only playoff victory.26 Jackson was called up the big leagues after Tidewater’s season ended.

Another Julian Morgan signee – veteran Mets first baseman John Milner – helped Jackson adjust to the majors. “He just took me under his wing and looked after me and show[ed] me the ropes,” Jackson explained. “Being from Opelika, I mean, I wouldn’t say I was ‘country as corn,’ but I was pretty close.”27 On September 13 at Olympic Stadium, Jackson started against the Montreal Expos in his debut. He struck out six, and New York led, 4-3, when he departed with two outs in the sixth inning, but he wound up with a no-decision as the Expos rallied against the Mets’ bullpen. In four starts, Jackson went 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in his first taste of the big leagues. “We got to make him more compact in delivering the ball,” observed Mets pitching coach Rube Walker. “Funny thing about him, he was wild when he was winding up, but his delivery is more compact with men on.”28

Mets manager Joe Torre said, “I liked the way he came at the hitters… Roy’s curve is supposed to be his best pitch, but he showed me a better fastball than I expected. I think he will be even better pitching at his proper weight.” New York GM Joe McDonald explained to reporters that Jackson “immediately gained 12 or 15 pounds” after he had stopped smoking cigarettes at Tidewater. By the time the 6-foot-2, 190-pound pitcher reported to the Florida Instructional League that fall, though, he had already shed five of them.29

Jackson returned to Tidewater in 1978 and struck out 11 to win on Opening Day.30 By the first week of August, however, his record was just 6-9 with a 4.36 ERA.31 With a strong finish, he wound up 11-10 (3.73), with a career-high 132 strikeouts and a much-improved walk rate (2.6 per nine innings, down from 3.9 the previous year). “In the Mets system there was really no pitching coach,” Jackson reflected in 2021. “Honestly, I developed on my own… because I was very observant. I learned from the good and I learned from the bad.”32 New York recalled him again in September, but he was hit hard in four appearances.

During spring training 1979, the New York Daily News’s Jack Lang wrote, “Jackson’s problem is that he throws too many pitches and is rarely ahead of the hitters.”33 Although the Mets had lost 96 and 98 games the previous two years – and would lose 99 games that season – they farmed Jackson out after giving him only a brief look.34 Discouraged, and perhaps seeking an outlet for his frustration at the time, Jackson recalled in 2020 how he smoked up to two packs of cigarettes per day and became reclusive. “I honestly believe the only reason I didn’t totally fall by the wayside [was] because I was more determined to prove people wrong.”35

Back at Tidewater, Jackson went 12-7 (3.74), but he was converted into a reliever in August and made 16 of his 33 appearances out of the bullpen.36 When the Mets called him up for the third straight September, he experienced his first big-league success: a 2.20 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over eight outings.

Jackson became a new man that offseason. On October 5, 1979, he married Mary Jackson.37 During spring training 1980, he accepted an invitation to a Bible talk from a teammate and made a life-changing decision.38 “Before the guy could ask who wanted to give their life to the Lord my hand was up before he even finished,” Jackson recalled in 2020.39 “I didn’t smoke anymore, didn’t drink anymore, didn’t use profanity anymore. Just total change, man. I had a real experience with the Lord. And my life has been totally different since then.”40

“The Mets lead the league in deeply religious Christians,” one newspaper opined early in the 1980 season – naming Pete Falcone, Ray Burris and Doug Flynn.41 However, despite a strong spring training, Jackson had been sent back to Tidewater for the fourth straight year. The last spot on New York’s pitching staff went to John Pacella, a 23-year-old right-hander who was out of options. “Man, I cried. I cried,” Jackson confessed that summer.42

In 22 appearances (seven starts) for the Tides, Jackson went 3-5 (2.31) with three saves. He was less tense, and he felt better physically without alcohol and nicotine.43 The Mets called him up on the Fourth of July to replace Burris, who had chipped a bone in his pitching thumb the previous evening. Following two bullpen outings, Jackson started on Saturday July 19 with 40,079 in attendance at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. He struck out 12 and hurled a complete-game three-hitter to beat the Reds, 13-3. “What impressed me most tonight about him was that after he had given up those three runs early, he didn’t panic,” remarked Torre.44

Afterwards, Jackson raved about his changeup. “I never had one like that before. It got better the more I threw it.”45 He started seven more times for New York before the end of August but did not earn another victory. Jackson spent September in the bullpen and finished 1980 with a 1-7 (4.20) record in 24 big-league appearances (eight starts). “With the Mets I would be starting one time, then relieving, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said later. “And I didn’t know what they wanted.”46

Jackson went to the Puerto Rican Winter League to pitch for the Lobos de Arecibo. “José Pagán, the manager down there, had asked me to be a stopper in the bullpen,” he recalled. “And I agreed to give it a try.”47 Jackson impressed a Toronto Blue Jays scout by going 5-2 with five saves. On December 12, 1980, the Blue Jays acquired him from the Mets for versatile outfielder/infielder Bob Bailor. “I was so happy when I heard about the trade,” Jackson said. “I didn’t know what to say.”48

Heading into 1981, the Blue Jays had finished last in the American League East in all four of their seasons of existence. Nevertheless, during spring training, Jackson said he was happy to be with a team that would give him an opportunity. He described himself as a sinker/slider pitcher, and said the latter was his out pitch.49 Jackson earned a save against the New York Yankees in Toronto’s home opener. “Roy Lee has a good sinker and he gets the ball over,” observed Blue Jays manager Bobby Mattick. “Hopefully, he’s the answer to our need for a short man in the bullpen.”50

As it happened, Jackson notched seven saves in 39 appearances to rank second on the team behind Joey McLaughlin (10). Among pitchers who spent the entire strike-shortened split season with the Blue Jays, Jackson’s 2.61 ERA was the club’s best. During the work stoppage, which lasted more than eight weeks, he remained in Toronto for nearly a month working out before heading home to keep in shape by playing basketball.51

In 1982, Jackson posted Toronto’s best ERA (3.06) again, with an 8-8 record and six saves in 48 appearances (two starts). After the All-Star break, when the Blue Jays enjoyed their first winning half in franchise history, he limited opposing hitters to a .183 batting average.

Jackson went to salary arbitration, where he was awarded the $155,000 that Toronto offered rather than the $225,000 he was seeking. “I don’t think they gave me enough credit for being consistent the last two years. I don’t understand it,” he said.52 In Pinellas Park, Florida, where he made his offseason home at the time, Jackson started a workout regimen after realizing that his weight had increased to 220 pounds. “I’d gotten heavy around the midsection and the rear. It’s not just how much you weigh, but how the weight is distributed,” he explained. “I’d like to stay between 200 and 205.”53

On Opening Day 1983, Jackson hurled three perfect innings to save Toronto’s victory at Fenway Park. His weight was down, but his ERA swelled to 4.50 by season’s end. Still, he earned eight wins and seven saves in 49 appearances as the Blue Jays led the AL East in late July before finishing fourth with an 89-73 record.

Beginning on August 11, 1982, Jackson’s record was 13-1 over one calendar year – including seven straight victories to tie a (then) club mark.54 He was particularly effective at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, where he fashioned an 18-2 record from the start of 1982 until May 27, 1984. Prior to a Blue Jays’ victory over the Texas Rangers there on July 10, 1983, in which he pitched two innings, Jackson sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “O Canada.”55 “When I was in high school, we had a little band in the ninth grade. And I always liked singing,” he explained. “Somebody told a woman in the Blue Jays marketing department.” They had him record both anthems and lip sync them. “My friends made fun of me about it, like, ‘Yeah, man, you sing better than you pitch.’”56 A photograph of Jackson singing again two weeks later in Texas appeared on his 1984 Fleer baseball card.57

In 1984, Jackson was 5-1 with two saves and a 1.17 ERA in his first 17 appearances, prompting Toronto pitching coach Al Widmar to say, “Roy Lee Jackson has been the most consistent he has ever been.”58 Toronto’s Globe and Mail noted Jackson’s deliberate nature on the mound. “It’s just my personality,” he said. “Ask my wife, Mary, even as far as going shopping and stuff, I’m never in a rush to go anywhere or do anything… On the field, I try to take my time, make sure I don’t try to get ahead of myself or allow the situation to control me instead of me controlling it.”59

One thing that Jackson could not control was the Detroit Tigers’ 35-5 start in 1984. Despite a 34-16 record of their own, the Blue Jays were 4½ games out of the first place by June 4, when they met their division rivals for the first time. With a nationally televised Monday Night Baseball contest at Tiger Stadium tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the 10th inning, Jackson came on with one out and a runner at second base. Following a groundout and a walk, he faced Detroit’s Dave Bergman. Jackson got ahead in the count one ball and two strikes, but Bergman fouled off seven pitches before launching a full-count slider into the upper deck for a game-ending homer. “Without a doubt it was the best at-bat I’ve ever seen,” raved Tigers coach Dick Tracewski.60

From June 1 to July 30, Jackson was the only Toronto pitcher to earn a save. “Right now, he is throwing the best of anybody in the bullpen,” said Blue Jays manager Bobby Cox.61 But Jackson never pitched on consecutive days after July 23, and beat writer Neal MacCarl noted that his arm needed more recovery time.62 Despite a poor second half that he attributed to not having a defined role, Jackson established career highs with 54 appearances and 10 saves.63 Rookie lefty Jimmy Key also saved 10 Blue Jays victories, but Jackson and Key also failed to convert seven chances apiece as Toronto blew 24 saves to lead the majors. In contrast, Detroit stopper Willie Hernández’s MVP performance helped the Tigers win the division by 15 games and romp to a World Series championship.

That winter, the Blue Jays traded for All-Star closer Bill Caudill and veteran southpaw Gary Lavelle, who had already combined for 216 career saves. Jackson compiled a 1.20 ERA over 15 innings in spring training, but he was released on April 1, 1985, hours before his $340,000 salary would have become guaranteed. “I’m confused about the decision,” Jackson told the Globe and Mail. “The only thing I can do is think it had to do with the contract. I’m disappointed, very disappointed thinking about what happened.”64

During his four seasons in Toronto, Jackson had led the Blue Jays’ chapel services and helped future All-Stars Jesse Barfield and Tony Fernández become born-again Christians.65 “Believe it or not, the rumors were swirling and complaints were mounting that too many guys were accepting the Lord,” Jackson recalled after retiring.66 In 1986, he remarked, “They have this preconceived idea that as a Christian, you are a passive person, just because you don’t rant and rave and cuss… When I first got traded here [Toronto], they didn’t come right out and say it, but they said I wasn’t intense enough when I was on the mound.”67

A handful of teams offered Jackson the chance to pitch in Triple A but Baltimore Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller expressed interest first.68 On May 1, 1985, Jackson signed for $25,000 and reported to the Rochester (New York) Red Wings to pitch his way into shape with Baltimore’s IL affiliate. If another club offered him a major-league job, the Orioles would let him go.69 “I hadn’t pitched in about 40 days, so it was like I was starting spring training when everyone else was starting the regular season,” he said.70

Jackson made 15 appearances for Rochester before June 27, when he was traded to the San Diego Padres for Alan Wiggins, a speedy leadoff hitter who had worn out his welcome because of recurring drug problems.71 “What do I like about Jackson?” asked San Diego GM Jack McKeon. “Major-league fastball, major-league control, major-league slider.”72 The Padres were leading the National League West after winning the pennant the previous year. In 22 appearances (two starts), Jackson went 2-3 with a 2.70 ERA and two saves, but San Diego wilted down the stretch and finished third.

The Padres were well-stocked with right-handed relievers in 1986 – future Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, veteran Tim Stoddard, and touted rookie Lance McCullers – so Jackson was released in spring training. He caught on with the Minnesota Twins, the club that had hired Ray Miller as manager the previous summer. After seeing Jackson pitch two innings in an exhibition against the University of Minnesota, Miller said, “I wouldn’t let him leave.”

The Sporting News noted that when Jackson joined the Twins’ active roster in mid-May, he became the team’s third new African American player (Ron Washington and Al Woods were the others) since Angels DH Reggie Jackson (no relation) had criticized Minnesota for not having enough Black players two weeks earlier.73 Roy Lee Jackson posted a 3.86 ERA in 28 appearances covering 58 1/3 innings, but Minnesota finished sixth. Miller was fired in September.

In 1987, Jackson couldn’t land a major-league job, and he didn’t sign a minor-league deal until June 22, with the Milwaukee Brewers. However, after making just four appearances for their Triple-A Denver Zephyrs affiliate, he decided to retire. “When you start getting treated as a number, instead of a human being, it’s time to get out,” he explained later.74 (When the lawsuit against Major League Baseball owners for colluding to hold down free agent salaries in the 1985-86 and 1986-87 off seasons was settled, Jackson was awarded $214,634 in damages.75)

Jackson moved back to Opelika after professional baseball, and eventually settled in Auburn. Until he retired early in the 21st century, he worked a variety of jobs: counseling children and supervising the city’s school transportation system, for example, and for a fitness equipment manufacturer. Along with his wife, he also started the New Creation Service Center – a church based out of their home. “I became a minister in 1980 and my heart has always been in the ministry,” Jackson told the Toronto Star in 1992. “It’s the most important part of my life.”76

Roy Lee and Mary never had children of their own, but they shepherded numerous Auburn University students. “So many of these boys were raised by a single mother and really have no idea how to be a good husband,” Mary explained. “God ‘showed’ Roy how to treat a wife, so he serves as an example to these men.”77

In 2020, Jackson was inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the first right-handed pitcher from a historically black college or university (HBCU)78 to receive that honor.79 “Shocked would be the operative word about how I reacted to it,” he said.80

As of 2022, Jackson still hosted a weekly Sunday morning radio program for Opelika’s Praise 88.7 FM and published sermons on his YouTube channel.

Last revised: December 15, 2022



This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and David Bilmes and fact-checked by Russ Walsh.



In addition to sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted, and



1 Douglas Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute,” Black College Nines, June 18, 2020, (last accessed July 17, 2022).

2 Roy Lee Jackson, New York Mets Questionnaire, October 22, 1975.

3 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

4 Samara Freemark and Joe Richman, “’Segregation Forever’: A Fiery Pledge Forgiven, but Not Forgotten,” All Things Considered, January 10, 2013, (last accessed July 24, 2022).

5 “Podcast: Roy Lee Jackson,” Mets Rewind, December 12, 2020, (last accessed July 17, 2022).

6 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

7 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

8 Jordan D. Hill, “Opelika’s Roy Lee Jackson Reflects on College Baseball Hall of Fame Selection,” Opelika-Auburn (Alabama) News, September 20, 2020, (last accessed July 17, 2022).

9 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

10 Jackson, New York Mets Questionnaire.

11 Roy Lee Jackson, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss, December 15, 1975.

12 Hill, “Opelika’s Roy Lee Jackson Reflects on College Baseball Hall of Fame Selection.”

13 Roy Lee Jackson, 1987 Topps baseball card.

14 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

15 In 1985, Tuskegee Institute became Tuskegee University.

16 Jackson, New York Mets Questionnaire.

17 Jackson, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss.

18 Hill, “Opelika’s Roy Lee Jackson Reflects on College Baseball Hall of Fame Selection.”

19 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

20 Jackson, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss.

21 “Frank Bannister Award,” Atlanta Daily World, June 1, 1975: 6. (Frank Bannister was a sports broadcaster and print journalist who had graduated from Tuskegee.)

22 Jackson, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss.

23 Jackson, Publicity Questionnaire for William J. Weiss.

24 “No-Hitter and One-Hitter as Mets, Drillers Split,” The Sporting News, August 21, 1976: 32.

25 Roy Lee Jackson’s Venezuelan League statistics are from (last accessed July 17, 2022).

26 “Playoffs,” The Sporting News, September 24, 1977: 33.

27 “Podcast: Roy Lee Jackson.”

28 Jack Lang, “Mets Eyeing Untested Duo for Hill Help,” The Sporting News, January 28, 1978: 58.

29 Lang, “Mets Eyeing Untested Duo for Hill Help.”

30 George McClelland, “Home Teams Notch Triumphs in I.L. Inaugurals,” The Sporting News, April 29, 1978: 32.

31 “Batting and Pitching Records,” The Sporting News, August 26, 1978: 33.

32 “Podcast: Roy Lee Jackson.”

33 Jack Lang, “Mets Find No Relief, Lose in 11,” Daily News (New York, New York), March 12, 1979: 55.

34 Neil MacCarl, “Jays’ Righthander in Tough Spot,” Toronto Star, March 6, 1981: B5.

35 “Podcast: Roy Lee Jackson.”

36 Jack Lang, “Mets Test Young Pitchers,” The Sporting News, October 13, 1979: 38.

37 Her maiden name was Jackson, the 19th most popular surname in the United States.

38 Opelika: A City of Character, Opelika High School Character Education Program, 2009-2010, Term 2:11, (last accessed July 23, 2022).

39 Hill, “Opelika’s Roy Lee Jackson Reflects on College Baseball Hall of Fame Selection.”

40 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

41 Steve Caulk, “Pacella Tries to Put Batters in a Trance,” Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey), April 13, 1980: 128.

42 Steve Marcus, “Mets Gets Lift from Pitcher Jackson,” Newsday (Long Island, New York), July 20, 1980: F5.

43 MacCarl, “Jays’ Righthander in Tough Spot.”

44 Michael Strauss, “Mets Top Reds, 13-3, Jackson Excels,” New York Times, July 20, 1980: S1.

45 Jack Lang, “Mazzilli Creates Own Heat Wave,” The Sporting News, August 9, 1980: 33.

46 Thomas Rogers, “Scouting: At Home at Last,” New York Times, July 22, 1983: A16.

47 Rogers, “Scouting: At Home at Last.”

48 MacCarl, “Jays’ Righthander in Tough Spot.”

49 MacCarl, “Jays’ Righthander in Tough Spot.”

50 Neil MacCarl, “Jays Perfect in Five Home Openers,” The Sporting News, May 2, 1981: 31.

51 Paul Patton, “Jays Prepare for Summer Spring Training,” Globe and Mail (Toronto), August 1, 1981: S1.

52 Paul Patton, “Jackson Rejected in Pitch for Pact,” Globe and Mail, February 18, 1983: P19.

53 Neil MacCarl, “Jackson’s Diet Begins Its Payoff,” The Sporting News, April 25, 1983: 24.

54 Roy Lee Jackson, 1984 Donruss baseball card.

55 Neil MacCarl, “Jays Jottings,” The Sporting News, July 25, 1983: 14.

56 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

57 The 1984 Fleer card also shows Rangers catcher Bob Johnson and home-plate umpire Durwood Merrill, so the date must have been July 24, 1983.

58 Neil MacCarl, “Pitching is Sharp in Jays Getaway,” The Sporting News, May 14, 1984: 23.

59 Kevin Boland, “Jackson is One Fastballer Who Takes It Slow and Easy,” Globe and Mail, May 24, 1984: M7.

60 Tom Gage, “Bergman is Tigers’ Mr. Cool in Clutch,” The Sporting News, June 18, 1984: 15.

61 Neil MacCarl, “Jackson Replaces Lamp as Short Man,” The Sporting News, July 30, 1984: 16.

62 Neil MacCarl, “Jays Try Gott in Short Relief,” The Sporting News, August 13, 1984: 20.

63 Larry Millson, “Release Stuns Jackson, Clark,” Globe and Mail, April 2, 1985: S1.

64 Millson, “Release Stuns Jackson, Clark.”

65 Malan, “Living HBCU History with the Legends: Roy Lee Jackson of Tuskegee Institute.”

66 Opelika: A City of Character.

67 Larry Millson, “Ex-Jay Finds Relief from Woes Despite Job Loss,” Globe and Mail, June 7, 1986: C5.

68 Kent Baker, “Jackson Puzzled by Unkindest Cut,” Baltimore Sun, May 3, 1985: D3.

69 Marty York, “Jackson on Triple-A Budget,” Globe and Mail, May 10, 1985: M7.

70 Frank Bilovsky, “Padres See Jackson as Major Help,” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), June 28, 1985: 30.

71 After the season San Diego also received Double-A pitcher Rich Caldwell as a player to be named later, but he never pitched again professionally.

72 Bilovsky, “Padres See Jackson as Major Help.”

73 “Twins,” The Sporting News, May 19, 1986: 21.

74 Rick Fraser, “Roy Lee Jackson Finds Relief in God,” Toronto Star, March 15, 1992: G5.

75 Associated Press, “Collusion Damages Exceed $9 Million,” Hartford (Connecticut) Courant, January 18, 1995: C8.

76 Fraser, “Roy Lee Jackson Finds Relief in God.”

77 Opelika: A City of Character.

78 The Higher Education Act of 1965 defined HBCUs as “any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans…” “What is an HBCU?” (last accessed November 12, 2022).

79 Left-handed pitcher Al Holland, from North Carolina A&T, had been inducted into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015. As of 2022, the other inductees from HBCU’s were: Florida A&M’s Andre Dawson (outfielder); Grambling’s Dr. Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones (coach) and Ralph Garr (outfielder); Jackson State’s Robert Braddy (coach); Southern University’s Pete Barnes (outfielder), Danny Goodwin (catcher) and Lou Brock (outfielder); and Tuskegee’s William C. Matthews (19th century infielder). “HBCU Selections to the College Baseball Hall of Fame,” (last accessed November 12, 2022).

80 Hill, “Opelika’s Roy Lee Jackson Reflects on College Baseball Hall of Fame Selection.”

Full Name

Roy Lee Jackson


May 1, 1954 at Opelika, AL (USA)

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