A Folk Hero in the Making

Ransom, far right, with Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Dodger manager Walter Alston.

Ransom, far right, with Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Dodger manager Walter Alston.

Ransom Jackson slammed 103 homers in his major league career and twice made the National League All-Star team. That’s good but not enough to gain entrance into the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York, without an admission ticket.

So maybe Ransom has a chance of becoming an American folk hero by telling stories from his book, Handsome Ransom Jackson: Accidental Big Leaguer.

 

It has been a while since an authentic folk hero came along so the timing is right. Lord knows, we need one these days.

 

At age 90, Ransom has the qualifications needed.

 

He grew up during the Depression, played college football at TCU and Texas and major-league baseball in the 1950s when the game was unquestionably the national pastime.

 

He can spin yarns and crack quips about playing football and baseball alongside Bobby Layne who was as legendary off the gridiron as he was on it.

 

Ransom, far right, with the legendary Ty Cobb, seated. Behind Cobb is Frank Sinkwich, 1942 Heisman Trophy winner.

Ransom, far right, with the legendary Ty Cobb, seated. Behind Cobb is Frank Sinkwich, 1942 Heisman Trophy winner.

 

He once spent an afternoon talking sports with another football legend, Harold “Red” Grange, aka “The Galloping Ghost.”

 

He can reminisce about golfing with a Mafia don, Sam “Big Nose” Cafari, and the time Sam insisted he eat calamari.

 

Ransom can relate stories about the greatest of baseball’s greats. Consider this lineup he recently put together for a must-win game: C – Roy Campanella; 1B – Stan Musial; 2B – Jackie Robinson; SS – Ernie Banks; 3B – Ransom Jackson; LF – Roberto Clemente; CF – Willie Mays; RF – Carl Furillo; P — Robin Roberts (right-handed) and Warren Spahn (left-handed). He tabbed Elroy Face as the relief pitcher for this ultimate game.

 

Ransom limited the lineup to National Leaguers he played with and against since he spent most of his time in the majors in the senior circuit with the Chicago Cubs and Dodgers, both in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

 

L-R, Ralph Kiner, Stan Musial and Ransom.

L-R, Ralph Kiner, Stan Musial and Ransom.

Handsome Ransom Jackson has the right stuff to be a folk hero – one that can take us back to a time when baseball was just a game that your family could get a front-row seat without mortgaging the house.

 

That’s why Larry Whitler, co-host with Robin MacBlane of the radio show, “Robin and The Giant,” calls Ransom a legend.

 

Pull up a chair and listen to Ransom’s conversation with “Robin and The Giant” and his encore interview with Matthew Laurance and Mike Cameron on their sports show aired July 6 on WLXG-AM in Lexington, Kentucky. Matthew and Mike are planning to have Ransom back a third time. They know a folk hero when they meet one.

 

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