Jackson, a quality reliever for much of his 18-year career, got his greatest attention as a member of Pittsburgh’s World Champion “Family” in 1979. The number-two man in the bullpen behind Kent Tekulve, Jackson went 8-5 with a career-high 14 saves and finished third in the NL in appearances, behind teammates Tekulve and Enrique Romo. Jackson gave up no runs and only two hits in his six postseason appearances in ’79, winning Game One of the LCS and the World Series clincher as the Pirates completed their dramatic seven-game comeback. He was only the sixth black pitcher to win a WS game.
Jackson didn’t have a winning record in six seasons for the Phillies at the start of his career. An attempt to use him as a starter looked promising in 1969 (14-18, 3.34) but fell apart in 1970 (3-15, 5.28, plus two relief wins). Traded to the Orioles for 1971, he became an important member of the Orioles’ bullpen-by-committee arrangement and never again had a losing season. In 1973 he was 8-0, tied for sixth all-time for most wins in a season without a loss, and won Game Four of the LCS over the A’s. Traded to the Yankees in the 10-player June 1976 deal that brought Rick Dempsey, Rudy May, and Scott McGregor to Baltimore, Jackson was the only new Yankee who didn’t disappoint, going 6-0 the rest of the way to help New York to its first AL pennant in 12 years.