Little Known Black History Fact: Will Cannonball Jackman

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The Negro League pitcher left a trail of strikeouts while playing with teams in Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts.  Throughout his career, Jackman went on to play for the Philadelphia Giants, the Philadelphia Tigers, the Brooklyn Eagles, the Newark Eagles, and the Boston Royal Giants. In the 1952 Pittsburgh Courier’s player-voted poll of the “all-time great Negro League players,” Jackman was voted number one.

When the Boston Red Sox were scouting for African American players to finally join their roster in the 1950’s, they looked to Will “Cannonball” Jackman for guidance and recruiting.

Will “Cannonball” Jackman died on September 8, 1972 surrounded by friends and family. In his honor, the Cannonball Foundation, an organization that promotes baseball play among youth in low-income urban communities, was formed.

In 2012, his uniform was restored by Museum Textile Services for the Boston Museum of African-American History exhibit entitled “The Color of Baseball in Boston.”

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