Oct 6, 2012

Stat Anomaly: 20 Losses in a Season: Al Jackson, 1962

Al Jackson was on the 1962 Mets.  The 1962 Mets had 120 losses.  Ipso facto, there were a lot of losses to go around.   In two previous seasons with the Pirates, he had only made 5 starts, but flashed some promise. Al Jackson was a 26 year old rookie just looking for an opportunity after 7 years in the minors; he got that opportunity and then some.

Jackson started 33 games, completing 12 of them with 4 shutouts.  Superficially, that line looks good through  the prism of today's game.    The rest of the stats tell a different story. He finished 8-20 with a team leading 4.40 ERA (94 ERA+, 6% below league average) and a 1.39 WHIP.  He struck out 118 and walked 78 and was a pretty good fielding pitcher for what's it worth.

Let's see how much was by his own hand and how much was being a product of the modern team with the most losses ever.  I give him a tally of four hard luck losses.  There were a lot of games (8) where he went less than 5 innings and allowed 4 or more runs.

Check out this line from August 14th against the Phillies in which he got the loss:

15 !! innings pitched, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned),5 BB, 6 K with a 96 game score.  They did not have number of pitches listed, but the estimate was over 200 pitches!!  His other hard luck losses all had him pitching at least 7 innings and giving up 3 runs or less, including one other game in which he went 10 innings.

Al Jackson did not have a very good season in 1962, but he wasn't as bad as his record indicates.  He was wildly inconsistent as a rookie on an expansion team is expected to be.

Did you know he held the franchise mark for the Mets in wins and shutouts until Tom Seaver came along? He;s also been a part of the Mets organization up until this year.

My favorite part of this card is that he was an all-star rookie with this record.  It's just a striking juxtaposition and a measure of respect that he had for toiling away on the 1962 Mets half a century ago.