A good baseball writer you’ve probably never heard of

I first wrote about baseball as a child, submitted a number of term papers on the sport, beginning in eighth grade, and did my high school senior project on a Pacific Coast League team from my hometown, the Sacramento Solons.  I served as sports editor of my high school newspaper and did well enough that my journalism teacher wrote in my senior yearbook that I was the most talented sportswriter she’d taught and that she expected to see my name in print.

I got to college, however and got sidetracked, as a lot of freshmen do.  At the beginning of my sophomore year, I finally contacted the sports editor of the campus newspaper, the Mustang Daily. I approached this editor, Jacob Jackson with a few clips from high school and my Solons paper.  Jacob complimented me on the Solons paper, assigned me a feature on a women’s volleyball player and my college writing career began.  I wrote something like 125 stories for the Daily all told, over the next three years.  Jacob even gave me a column in the sports section that he named Golden Graham.

Jacob was perhaps the best writer I knew at Cal Poly.  One of my professors used a feature Jacob wrote as an example for students.  The story depicted journeyman baseball player Casey Candaele, a local resident, back in the minor leagues at 37 and at-bat in a crucial game.  Jacob’s narrative weaved between the at-bat and Candaele’s life story, culminating with him helping spur his team, the New Orleans Zephyrs to the 1998 Triple-A World Series.

Jacob could have landed a job on a sports desk somewhere after completing his journalism degree.  He went a different direction, though, entering a credential program at Cal Poly and saying he wanted to become a high school teacher.  It seemed unfortunate he wouldn’t be writing regularly, but I had to concede he seemed like a great potential teacher.  He was so compassionate.

I always wondered what became of him and did a Google search on his name today and found this:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/authors/jjackson/2007/

It seems Jacob’s still writing and writing well.  I only read a few of the articles, but I liked what he had to say on Jack Cust and Paul DePodesta; his writing seems, to use a dated term, sabermetric, though I mean that in the best sense of the word.  It means he’s intelligent and willing to put in time to research a topic, not just toss up a post haphazardly like much of the blogosphere.  Jacob doesn’t have anything on that site newer than late 2007, though I saw him on some recent message boards about the A’s.

I’m glad he still writes.  I’m glad he still cares.

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