Edwin Jackson pitched five innings for the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon, a perfectly respectable but also rather ordinary outing that for the most part has defined the right-hander’s career. On the surface, there wasn’t much remarkable about Jackson’s start against the San Francisco Giants, allowing three runs (two earned) in a no-decision.
But Jackson’s appearance on Wednesday was significant, and quite noteworthy. It was the 35-year-old’s first game with his Toronto, Jackson’s record 14th major league team.
Jackson broke his tie with longtime journeyman reliever Octavio Dotel, who pitched for 13 teams in his 15-year career (1998-2013), which overlapped with Jackson for 11 seasons.
With nearly half of the entire league on his resume, here is a closer look at some memorable facts about Jackson, baseball’s ultimate vagabond.
Don’t I know you from somewhere?
Edwin Jackson’s teams
Pablo Sandoval was 1-for-3 with a double against Jackson on Wednesday, which continues a career-long trend in their matchups. Sandoval is 11-for-26 (.423) with two home runs and three doubles against Jackson, and has reached base in all but one of their 11 meetings.
What’s incredible about their history is Jackson has faced Sandoval while pitching for five different teams. Ryan Braun has also faced Jackson on five different teams. Andrew McCutchen has seen Jackson on eight different teams!
Don’t ask, Dotel
Baseball’s two ultimate journeyman, Jackson and Dotel, were actually teammates once, and even involved in the same trade to make it happen. Well, sort of the same trade. There were three teams involved, and 11 different players on July 27, 2011, with Jackson going from the White Sox and Dotel from the Blue Jays, ending up on a Cardinals team that won the World Series.
I’ve been everywhere, man
Jackson has pitched for 14 different major league teams, and like Grover Cleveland had two non-consecutive stints in Washington, pitching for the Nationals in both 2012 and 2017. Jackson has been spread all over baseball, pitching 1,004 innings in the National League and 893⅓ innings in the American League.
He has pitched for eight different NL teams, and Toronto is his sixth AL squad. The Blue Jays are the third AL East team Jackson has played for, one of three divisions for which he has pitched for three teams (also the NL East and NL West). The AL West is the only division in which Jackson hasn’t played for at least two teams. He knocked off that check box with his 17 starts for Oakland in 2018.
Jackson began 2019 on a minor league deal with the A’s, making a pair of starts with Triple-A Las Vegas before getting traded to Toronto. This is not a new phenomenon for Jackson, who has bounced back and forth between the minors and majors at times in recent years, living the true nomadic existence. Since the start of 2016, Jackson has pitched 138 innings in the minors for five different organizations.
Always on the move
Jackson has been traded six times in his career, involving 23 different players besides Jackson. His latest trade, on Saturday between Oakland and Toronto, was for cash considerations. He’s been released three times.
The last time Jackson pitched for one team the entire season was in 2014 with the Cubs. In each of the five years since, Jackson has played for two different organizations.
Age is but a number
Not many have had more memorable major league debuts than Edwin Jackson, who was the Dodgers’ top prospect in September 2003, and one of the top prospects in baseball. He was ranked fourth overall in the sport heading into the 2004 season.
But on September 9 in Arizona, Jackson on his 20th birthday took the mound against Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, who was one day shy of his 40th birthday. Facing a pitcher almost literally twice his age, Jackson allowed just one run in six innings, outdueling the Big Unit for his first major league win.
Parks & recreation
Jackson began his career in 2003, and Oracle Park has been open since 2000 (now on its fourth name). So it’s no surprise that Jackson has pitched in San Francisco before. Wednesday was his sixth start at the ballpark, for five different teams. Oracle Park is one of 35 different ballparks Jackson has pitched in. Keep in mind there are 30 major league teams.
Despite being around for seemingly forever, Jackson is still just 35 years old. There are 32 active pitchers older than Jackson, who has 306 major league starts under his belt. To me, there’s plenty of time for Jackson to continue his grand tour and add a few more notches to his team belt.
Jackson just might have to keep pitching for a while, anyway. After all, it can’t be cheap to house all the jerseys he has worn in his extraordinary career.