Larry Jackson: Killing Me Softly

LARRY JACKSON: KILLING ME SOFTLY

Larry Jackson had the New York Mets number, and probably a few letters too. In 27 career starts against the Mets, Jackson compiled a 21-2 record with 12 complete games, six shutouts and a 2.24 ERA. He was 8-0 at Shea Stadium.

Jackson, who pitched 14 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies, beat the Mets 18 consecutive times — between April 11, 1962 to August 14, 1967 — before New York finally got the best of Jackson in a 8-3 win over the Phillies.

He started his run with a complete game win, 11-4, on Opening Day 1962 when he was pitching for the Cardinals. As a member of the Phillies, on July 5, 1966, Jackson joined Juan Marichal as the only other pitcher to have recorded 15 wins against the Mets when he fired a complete game six-hitter to defeat the Mets 3-1.

The wins pilled up until August 1967 when Jackson, then a member of the Phillies, lost an 8-3 decision vs. Mets at Connie Mack Stadium.

With the chorus of Killing Me Softly (Roberta Flack or if you prefer a Hip Hop beat your music, The Fugees, take your pick), Jackson carved up the Mets start-after-start over a five-year period from Day 1 (literally) of the Mets franchise until late summer 1967.

Jackson was more of a “quiet killer” among the list of opposing pitchers against the Mets. Jackson won more games against the Mets than Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax (17), Jim Bunning (18), John Smoltz (18) or Gaylord Perry (15). He also won the same number of games as former Mets Dwight Gooden and David Cone with much less fanfare .

As the Society of American Baseball Research noted, “Even Jackson’s biggest year was only almost spectacular. He piled up his victories with little fanfare. It’s a good way to be forgotten.”

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National League baseball in New York was redefined on March 6, 1961 when the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc. formally received a certificate of membership from leave president Warren Giles. Of the 30 Major League Baseball clubs today, the case could be made that no other team has a more compelling franchise history than the New York Mets. From Casey Stengel to Yogi Berra, Marv Throneberry to Tom Seaver, Willie Mays, Tug McGraw, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Valentine, Pedro Martinez and Matt Harvey, the Mets are loaded with character(s). Then there are the Amazin’ seasons — 1962, 1969, 1973, 1986, 2000, 2006-2008 and 2015 — full of miracles, joy, hope and heartbreak. Mets Rewind is designed for that purpose: To share team history in a distinct and entertaining format. We hope you — the baseball fan — enjoy the content. We encourage you to share your memories.
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