The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the most well known and beloved teams in MLB history. Depsite entering the season facing long shot odds, the Battlin’ Bucs, led by Willie ‘Pops’ Stargell, took home their 5th and most recent World Series Championship.
Due to adopting the Sister Sledge song as their theme song, the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates were known as the ‘Fam-a-Lee’ Pirates. A key member of this 1979 squad was relief pitcher Grant Jackson.
On Tuesday, the sad news broke that Jackson had lost his life. Jackson lost his battle with COVID-19 on Tuesday, as the Pittsburgh Pirates lost a ‘Fam-a-Lee’ member.
During the 1979 season Jackson appeared in 72 games out of the Pirate bullpen. In these 72 games the lefty logged 82.0 innings. Jackson posted a 2.96 ERA in these 82.0 innings pitched. During the 1979 postseason, Jackson pitched 6.2 scoreless innings of relief. Jackson was also the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 1979 World Series.
All told, Jackson pitched 353.2 innings with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1977-1981. He posted a strong 3.21 ERA and 4.01 FIP, to go with a 9.1% walk rate, 11.6% strikeout rate and a home run rate of 0.76 HR/9.
In September of 1982 Jackson returned to Pittsburgh. This allowed him to finish his career as a Pirate. His return to the Pirates was for just one game, coming on September 8th, 1982. In this outing he allowed a solo home runs in 2/3 of an innings pitched. While he did not get the zero he was looking for, this allowed Jackson to finish his career as a Pirate.
RIP, Grant, you’ll forever be a member of the Pirate ‘Fam-a-Lee.’