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Monday, January 16, 2012

Retrosimba: An interview with former Cardinals pitcher Al Jackson

Q: You began the 1967 season in the Cardinals’ rotation and in April pitched a one-hit shutout, beating the Astros, 4-0, in Houston. Bob Aspromonte broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the eighth. Do you recall what happened?

Al Jackson: Yes, I do _ big-time. It wasn’t so much the no-hitter. I just wanted to maintain the stuff that I had that night, the control that I had. I wasn’t throwing as good as I was earlier in the game but I also knew that when I got a little tired, I was a better pitcher because I could keep the ball down. Against Aspromonte, I got the groundball I wanted. The pitch may have been down the middle because it was hit in the hole between short and third. If I had thrown it a little further away, the ball may have gone to the shortstop. I wasn’t worried about losing the game. I just wanted to stay on top of mine.

I also had pitched a one-hitter with the Mets against Houston. Joe Amalfitano got the hit. Boxscore Later, I was asked to speak at a dinner in New York. I began by saying I disliked Italians. The room was full of Italians and they looked at me like I was crazy. Then I had to explain: the two guys who broke up my no-hitters are named Amalfitano and Aspromonte. It got a laugh.

Q: Musial was 4-for-5 in his career against you. He batted .800 against you. You were smart to put him on with the walk…

Al Jackson: I’m glad I had a place to put him. I was asked after the game, “Why would you walk him? He’s a left-handed hitter.”  I said, “Why? That’s Musial.” Just look at his record. He’s known for beating teams. And here I am in that small ballpark _ just 250 feet down both lines. I know he can hit for power down both lines. And I never thought about striking him out. That wasn’t on my mind at all.

Thanks to Heck.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:32 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, history, mets

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   1. esseff Posted: January 16, 2012 at 07:25 PM (#4038338)
Maybe it's because I was at the game, but the Al Jackson gem I'll always remember is this one, pitched for the Mets against the Cardinals on the final weekend of the 1964 season. He beat Gibson 1-0, and it could have cost the Cardinals their pennant and subsequent World Series championship.

Gibson, btw, came back after pitching 8 innings in that game on Friday night to pitch 4 more on Sunday in relief, getting the win, as the Cardinals won the pennant on the final day. Then he pitched 27 more innings in the World Series.

EDIT: And now reading the entire linked article, I see the first 2 questions are about this game.
   2. Bob Evans Posted: January 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4038730)
Neat interview. I liked how the tracers confirmed his memory.

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