Position: Shortstop; Third Baseman
Teams: New York Giants, 1922-1936
After leading the league in errors in 1924, Travis Jackson became one of the best fielders in the league, earning the nickname “Stonewall.”
Travis Calvin Jackson (1903-1987) was born in Waldo, Arkansas. His uncle, who lived in Little Rock, was a friend of Kid Elberfeld, a former Yankee shortstop and a manager of Little Rock of the Southern League. When young Travis visited Little Rock, he fielded hours worth of ground balls hit at him by Elberfeld.
In 1931, Travis Jackson led all NL shortstops in
total chances and fielding average.
In 1921, when Travis was 17, Elberfeld signed him to a contract to play with Little Rock. While Jackson was playing in 1922 (he finished the season with a .280 average), Elberfeld recommended him to Giants manager John McGraw. Although the Giants had a shortstop, Dave Bancroft, who would later be a Hall of Famer, McGraw signed Jackson.
In 1922, Jackson got in three games with the Giants, a team bound for its second straight world championship. He played 96 games in 1923, including 60 at shortstop, when Bancroft was out with pneumonia. At the end of that year, McGraw dealt Bancroft and installed Travis as his shortstop.
Jackson was not a heavy hitter by the standards of the day, though he was capable of explosive performances. When he became a regular in 1924, he capped his first full season (which included a .302 average and 81 runs) by hitting two grand slams in a September game, and the Giants went on to win the pennant by a single game. In 1928, he had eight RBI in one game, and in 1929, a double, triple, and two homers in a single contest.
Jackson, who possessed a very strong arm, was regularly among league leaders in assists and double plays. He was voted the outstanding major-league shortstop by The Sporting News in 1927, ’28, and ’29.
Jackson suffered a broken knee in 1932 and didn’t resume play as a regular until late in 1933 as a third baseman. He spent his last two seasons at third base and retired after the 1936 season. He returned to the New York Giants for two stints as a coach before managing in the minor leagues.
A solid hitter with a .291 career batting average, Jackson adapted his stroke to fit the Polo Grounds’ short fences. He topped the .300 plateau six times in his career, reaching a high mark of .339 in 1930. He also pounded 21 homers in 1929.
Jackson’s glovework and impressive batting stats for a shortstop of his era convinced the Veterans Committee to induct him into the Hall of Fame in 1982. He died on July 27, 1987, in his hometown of Waldo, Arkansas.
Here are Travis Jackson's major league totals:
|BA||G||AB||R||H||2B ||3B||HR||RBI ||SB |
|.291||1,656||6,086 ||833||1,768 ||291 ||86 ||135 ||929 ||71|
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