- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.
- High School Simeon High School
- Born January 2, 1972 in Chicago, IL USA
The fourth pick of the 1989 amateur draft, Jeff Jackson was selected three spots before Frank Thomas. The Philadelphia Phillies picked the outfielder after a .504 high school season in which he stole 46 bases and hit 16 homers in 119 AB, driving in 72 runs. He was considered the top prospect in a high school outfield corps considered one of the best ever - like Jackson, the other top 2 high school OF, Paul Coleman and Earl Cunningham, never made the majors.
Assigned to the Martinsville Phillies after signing, Jackson hit only .227/~.288/.307 in the Appalachian League and struck out 66 times in 163 at-bats. Appy League managers still voted him as the #3 prospect in the circuit. A year later Jeff was with the Batavia Clippers and below the Mendoza Line, hitting .198/~.303/.313 with 80 K in 227 AB and stealing successfully in just 12 of 23 attempts.
In 1991 Jackson moved up to the Spartanburg Phillies and batted .225/~.307/.305 with 29 steals - and 123 strikeouts in 440 AB. Still rated as one of Philadelphia's top 10 prospects by Baseball America entering the next year, Jackson split the 1992 campaign between the Clearwater Phillies (.242/~.297/.361) and the Reading Phillies (.185/~.267/.231). He struck out 112 times in 405 at-bats that year.
1993 brought Jeff to Reading for a full season and for a 21-year-old he did okay at AA with a .238/~.294/.363 turn. His 20 steals in 28 tries marked the best use yet of his speed, his 9 homers were his most yet but he still whiffed 117 times in 374 AB. In his third try with Reading, he collapsed to a .177/.266/.315 try with 54 strikeouts in only 124 at-bats; his 5 homers showed his power was coming around but his contact rate was abysmal. Philadelphia finally gave up on Jackson.
In 1996 Jeff returned to Organized Baseball. Still just 24, he hit .245/~.344/.321 with 7 steals in 8 tries and 18 K in 53 AB for the Daytona Cubs and .378 with the Will County Cheetahs. 1997 saw Jackson bat .303 and slug .525 for Will County. He led the Heartland League with 26 stolen bases and his 13 homers were only two behind the leader.
Jackson's baseball career ended in 1998 with three stops - he played for the Lynchburg Hillcats (.278/~.333/.423, 31 K in 97 AB), the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (.192, .327 SLG) and the Massachusetts Mad Dogs (.191, .292 SLG) in his 10th and last year as a professional baseball player, finishing up at age 26 as one of the most notable busts among position players in amateur draft history.