Last night, Nick Vincent graciously became the answer to a trivia question that will be asked a decade from now when he served up a pitch that Vlad Jr. crushed to centre field for his first Major League home run. This afternoon, we’ll get to witness history again as Edwin Jackson starts for the Blue Jays, the record-setting 14th team in his wild big league career.
ROSTER MOVES: We've selected the contract of RHP Edwin Jackson and optioned LHP Thomas Pannone to the @BuffaloBisons.
To make room on our 40-man roster, RHP Matt Shoemaker has been transferred to the 60-day IL. pic.twitter.com/2TyIfkomoC
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 15, 2019
Jackson’s career has been a whirlwind. He’s essentially been the guy who went backpacking to find themselves after graduating and just never stopped. He’s travelled around Major League Baseball, stopping for a cup of coffee with nearly half of the franchises in the league. All told, Jackson has pitched for 13 teams over 16 years, Toronto will be the 14th, he’s had 771 teammates, he’s won the World Series, and he’s thrown a no-hitter.
Jackson was born in Germany, spent the first eight years of his life there, and then moved to the United States. He was drafted by the L.A. Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2001 draft out of high school and made his debut just two years later as a 19-year-old. The team he debuted on featured current Dodgers and Red Sox managers Dave Roberts and Alex Cora, Blue Jays legends Fred McGriff, Shawn Green, and Paul Quantrill, that season’s Cy Young winner, Eric Gagne, and future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson.
After parts of three seasons with the Dodgers, Jackson got traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. During his three-year tenure in Tampa Bay, Jackson witnessed the name get changed from the Devil Rays to the Rays and he helped the franchise reach the World Series in their first-ever playoff appearance in 2008.
Soon after the World Series, Jackson got dealt in a one-for-one swap to Detroit for Matt Joyce. He enjoyed a breakout season with the Tigers, posting a 3.62 ERA and earning an All-Star nod. After just one season, Jackson was involved in a three-team mega-deal that sent him and Ian Kennedy to Arizona, Curtis Granderson to the Yankees, and Phil Coke and Max Scherzer to Detroit.
It’s, uh, safe to say the Diamondbacks didn’t do well on that deal. Though, one positive is that they got this wild night out of Jackson during his half-season stint in the desert…
Jackson tossed one of the strangest no-hitters in Major League history. He didn’t allow a hit, of course, but surrendered eight walks and threw 149 pitches, which is the most ever needed in a no-hitter.
Just a few months into the 2010 season, Jackson got flipped to the White Sox for current Blue Jay Daniel Hudson. A year after that, Jackson was traded to the Blue Jays for prospect Zach Stewart and veteran Jason Frasor.
He was a Blue Jay for, like, two hours. The Jays flipped Jackson along with Octavio Dotel, Mark Rzepczynski, and Corey Patterson to St. Louis in the deal that brought Colby Rasmus to Toronto. Rasmus would actually end up hitting a homer off of Jackson in 2012. The Jays were a catalyst in the Cardinals willing the World Series that year as all of Jackson, Rzepczynski, and Dotel were all members of the team’s bullpen throughout the playoffs.
After that, Jackson signed a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals, where he would be around to witness Bryce Harper’s debut. A solid year led him to a big, four-year, $52 million deal with the Chicago Cubs. In his first year in Chicago, he led the league in losses with 18. He got released midway through the 2015 season, right before the team went on a run to the NLCS.
He would sign with Atlanta, then Miami, then San Diego, then Baltimore, then Washington again, and then, finally, Oakland. And here we are. Jackson will pitch for his 14th Major League club, and, if all things go well, there’s a chance he’ll pitch for a 15th team if the Jays trade him prior to the trade deadline.