Ransom Jackson played three years of college football, one at Texas Christian University and two at the University of Texas. He played in the 1945 and 1946 Cotton Bowl Classics on New Year’s Day, the first for TCU and the second for Texas. He’s the only player in Cotton Bowl history to play in successive years for different teams. Jackson also played three years of college baseball, leading the Southwest Conference in hitting all three seasons.
Jackson was a professional baseball player for twelve years, ten in the majors. He played for the Chicago Cubs (1950-55 and 1959); the Dodgers in Brooklyn (1956-57) and Los Angeles (1958) and Cleveland Indians (1958-59). He played in two Major League Baseball All-Star games (1954 and 1955) and the 1956 World Series, best known for the perfect game pitched by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees. In 955 major league games, Jackson batted .261 with 103 home runs and 415 runs batted in.
In 1989, Jackson was inducted into the University of Texas’ cherished Longhorn Hall of Honor. He also is a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame in recognition of him being the last Brooklyn player to hit a home run.
Jackson, now 89 years old, lives in Athens, Georgia, with his wife, Terry.
Gaylon H. White is author of The Bilko Athletic Club, published in 2014 by Rowman & Littlefield. “One of the best sports books of 2014,” Bruce Miles wrote in the Chicago Daily Herald.
The Bilko Athletic Club “is a pleasant look back at what a man and his excellent ball club could mean to a California community in the days when the Major League Baseball map extended only to St. Louis,” Bill Littlefield said on Only a Game, the nationally syndicated program he hosts weekly on National Public Radio.
The Los Angeles-born White was three years old in 1949 when Jackson briefly played at L.A.’s Wrigley Field for the Los Angeles Angels of the old Pacific Coast League. White didn’t see Jackson play until he came to L.A. with the Dodgers in 1958 but he knew him long before that as “Handsome Ransom,” all-star third baseman for his beloved Cubs.
White graduated in 1967 from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in journalism-broadcasting. He was a sportswriter for the Denver Post, Arizona Republic and Oklahoma Journal before working in the corporate world for nearly forty years.
White and Jackson hooked up after a mutual acquaintance sent Jackson a copy of the Bilko book. At the urging of his family, Ransom documented his life on paper – sixty pages of text, single spaced. He asked White to take a look and tell him what he thought. White liked the wonderful stories Jackson told and offered to help tailor the stories for a wider audience.
“You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate Jackson’s stories or his dry wit,” White said. “I used my experience as a corporate speechwriter to connect Ransom with baseball fans, young and old, so he’s entertaining them directly from his easy chair at his home in Athens, Georgia.”
White and his wife Mary, split their time between Cartersville, Georgia, and Kingsport, Tennessee.
Visit The Bilko Athletic Club website for more.