Joe Garagiola (11) congratulates Ransom after one of the 103 homers he hit in the majors. Ransom Jackson Collection
Loran Smith is a newspaper columnist and radio announcer based in Athens, Georgia, where Ransom Jackson has lived since 1956.
“You’re the first one to do something,” Loran said to Ransom one day.
“What was it?” he asked.
“I can’t remember,” Loran said.
This went on for years.
“Do you remember what I was the first one to do?”
Loran’s response was always, “No, I can’t remember.”
A few more years passed before the mystery was solved by an inquiring sportswriter who told Ransom he was the first National League player to receive a recorded intentional walk.
“Yeah, and they can’t find the recording,” Ransom thought to myself.
He was skeptical, pointing out that there were a bunch of intentional walks before he broke into the majors in 1950.
“Yeah,” the sportswriter said, “but they weren’t recording all these intentional walks.”
Ransom mentioned this to Loran Smith, the guy who started it all.
“Yeah, that’s it!” he confirmed.
It turns out that Ransom has bragging rights for all of baseball.
In the American League, Joe Astroth of the Kansas City Athletics was intentionally walked in the second inning of a game played the same day in Kansas City. The games started around the same time but Ransom was walked an inning earlier, edging Astroth by a few minutes.
Ransom belted 103 homers in his big-league career but it’s an intentional walk that got him into the record books.
Smith writes about this and more in a story for the Dalton Daily Citizen.
Syndicated sports cartoonist Tom Paprocki, who signed his work “Pap,” featured Ransom in this drawing that appeared in newspapers across the United States. Ransom Jackson Collection
“While his career is not storybook, it is one that includes milestone achievements and celebrated affiliations that countless athletes would kill for,” Smith observes.
“As an athlete, Ransom Jackson was the dog ‘that could hunt.’ If he had joined the PGA Tour, he likely would have been a very successful professional golfer.”
Of Ransom’s book, Handsome Ransom Jackson: Accidental Big Leaguer, Smith concludes that it “is not only about a man’s life and experience, but it is also about an era which we, perhaps, won’t see again. Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Marilyn and Joe, Truman and Ike, ‘I’ve Got a Secret,’ the Grand Ole Opry with Martha White Flower and no crossover stars. Helping hands all about, a chicken in every pot and a time when a man’s word was his bond.”