Randy “Handsome Ransom” Jackson, who played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1956-58, will make his first visit to Historic Dodgertown since his playing days, on Saturday, Feb. 18. Ransom, who turned 91 on Feb. 10, will take a walk down memory lane, and share those memories with Historic Dodgertown visitors and Presidents’ Day Tournament participants.
Jackson recently published an autobiographical memoir in which he chronicles his life from growing up in Arkansas to being signed to take over for Jackie Robinson, only to quickly discover nobody replaces a legend like Jackie.
“I have fond memories of Dodgertown and the three spring training camps I was there with such Dodger icons as Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax,” said Jackson. “It was a special time at a special place that has become extra special after 61 years. For at least one weekend, it will be 1958 all over again. That was the last time I was there.”
Said teammate and friend Carl Erskine, who pitched for the Dodgers from 1948-59:
“We used him (Jackson) primarily at third base. He was not always in the regular Dodger lineup, as we were always trying to get the right bats in the lineup depending on the pitcher for a given day. You have to have a good temperament to do that. Once he came to the Dodgers in 1956 and was lockered up with Hall of Famers, he was in his element.
“I got to know Randy quite well. I pitched against him with the Cubs – I think he hit a couple of home runs off me with the Cubs. He was in the lineup the day I got my first no-hitter against the Cubs (June 19, 1952). He always teased me that he hit some line drives well that day, but they were all caught. Randy was a solid, short stroke hitter and had good power. He was respected as a person and is a very classy guy. We used to fish together outside of Miami. We had a very pleasant friendship.”
Handsome Ransom Jackson, Accidental Big Leaguer takes readers from his youth to playing for the Chicago Cubs, Dodgers and Cleveland Indians, including playing in the 1956 World Series and two Major League Baseball All-Star Games. He also played three years of college football at Texas Christian University and the University of Texas, where he competed in two Cotton Bowl Classics. Jackson’s book is co-authored by Gaylon White.
Jackson will be available to autograph his book on Saturday, Feb. 18 from noon to 1 p.m. at Historic Dodgertown’s Jackie Robinson Room.
Jackson’s visit aligns with Historic Dodgertown’s annual Presidents’ Day Challenge. Nearly 90 teams made up of youth ages 9U to 18U from 12 states and Canada will descend upon Vero Beach for this weekend tournament.
In addition to his visit to Historic Dodgertown, Jackson will make an appearance at the Vero Beach Book Center on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m., and will be available to autograph his book. The Vero Beach Book Center is located at 392 21st Street.