Mehring Monday 7/27: Appleton's Other Hall of Famers

Travis Jackson played in the 1934 All Star Game that featured Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx.

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | July 27, 2009 6:43 AM ET

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This piece was originally written in 2008 for PLAYBALL!  Since the Appleton resident Tony Kubek was just inducted into the Broadcasting Wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award winner, we thought it might be a good time to rerun this article.

The election of Goose Gossage to the National Baseball Hall of Fame marks the first time a player who has worn the uniform of an Appleton baseball team will be enshrined in Cooperstown .  There are two other inductees in Cooperstown who have been a part of Appleton baseball. 

Travis Jackson had been in baseball for many years by the time he became the manager of the Appleton Papermakers of the Wisconsin State League.  He was a shortstop known for hustle and clutch hits on the New York Giant teams from 1921-1936.  He was a coach for the Giants and also managed in the minors for teams like the Jersey City Giants, the Jackson Senators, the Tampa Smokers, the Owensboro Oilers, the Bluefield Blue-Grays, and the Hartford Chiefs before making it to Appleton in 1952.  In two seasons at Goodland Field, Jackson compiled a record of 106-137.

After his time with the Papermakers, Jackson went on to manage the Lawton (OK) Braves in the Sooner State League, the Midland (TX) Braves of the Sophomore League, and the Eau Claire (WI) Braves of the Northern League.  Jackson ended his managerial career in the Midwest League as the skipper of the Davenport (IA) Braves in 1960.

The Waldo, Arkansas native won three league titles, including a Sooner State League title in 1955 in which the team went 95-44.  But, it was a player for John McGraw's Giants that got him his hall of fame recognition.  Jackson was part of four National League pennant winning teams (1923, 1924, 1933, and 1936) and one World Series Championship squad (1933).  He collected 1768 hits (with 135 home runs), hit .291, and drove in 929 runs for his career.  Jackson played in the second All-Star Game in 1934.

The Veterans Committee voted him to join the Hall in 1982.  His plaque begins Premier defensive shortstop who swung a productive bat.  Known for outstanding arm and exceptional range.  And he spent two seasons in Appleton .

Earl Weaver is best known for his only managerial stop in the major leagues.  Weaver was the man in charge of The Oriole Way from 1968 through 1982 and again from 1985-1986.  His Orioles won the AL East 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, and 1979. They made it to the World Series from 1969-1971 and again in 1979 with a championship over the Cincinnati Reds in 1970.

He began his managerial career in the South Atlantic League on August 8, 1956 for the Knoxville Smokies.  He was just 10-24 in the final 34 games of that season after replacing Dick Bartell.  Weaver had better luck at his next few stops Fitzgerald (GA) and Dublin (GA) in the Georgia-Florida League and Aberdeen (SD) in the Northern League, but his first championship was his first season in Appleton .

The year was 1960 and Weaver took over the Foxes from another future major league manager, Jack McKeon, as the Orioles became the new parent club in place of the Washington Senators.  Weaver had Boog Powell at first base and that team won the Three I League with an 82-56 record.

Weaver also spent the 1961 season with the Foxes and the team went 67-62.  The Orioles kept moving Weaver up the ladder as he went on to the Elmira Pioneers (1962-1965) of the Eastern League and the Rochester Red Wings (1966-1967) of the International League.  When he got his chance with Baltimore , Weaver ran with it.

The Veterans Committee selected him in 1996.  His plaque at Cooperstown begins: Managed Orioles with intensity, flair, and acerbic wit for 17 seasons.  .583 winning percentage (1480-1060) ranks fifth all-time among 20th Century managers with 10 or more years service.  And like Jackson , he spent two seasons in Appleton .


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Previous Mehring Mondays:

5/11: Bucket List

5/26: It's A Fantasy

6/1: Sweep

6/8: Painful

6/15: Walk Off

7/6: Ryan Franklin, All Star

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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