Jack Merson

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John Warren Merson

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Biographical Information[edit]

Eighteen-year-old Jack Merson was signed by the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent before the 1940 season. The young infielder appeared in only 12 games for the Newport Canners of the class D Appalachian League, hitting .135 for the season. He was released by the Senators before the 1941 season. Little is found on Jack for the next few years with the exception that he was married in 1943 to Jimmie B. Baldwin in Elk Ridge, MD, in a marriage that lasted 57 years an produced three sons, John Jr., Jeff and Jason. Merson was also inducted into the United States Army and served an extended tour of duty during World War II.

Merson, now 25, resurfaced before the 1947 season and was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent. Jack spent 1947 with the Class C Uniontown Coal Barons of the Middle Atlantic League handling the second base spot and hitting .388 with eleven home runs. So one would think wherever he had been he picked up a little moxie. Jack spent the next four years climbing up the minor league ladder and got a mid-September call-up from Indianapolis by the Pirates to Forbes Field in 1951.

In his major league debut on September 14th, Jack doubled in his 3rd at-bat and came around to score the only Pirate run in a 3-1 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers. The next day he contributed three singles and a triple in the Pirates' 11-4 win over the Dodgers, driving in 6 runs. He drove in three more runs in his fourth game, with another triple, and one the next day with 3 more hits, giving him a major league record 10 RBI in his first five games. That record has since been matched by Danny Espinosa in 2010 and Yasiel Puig in 2013, but never topped. By the end of the season Jack was hitting .360 (18-for-60), putting himself in the team's plans for the next year.

As the Pirates' starting second baseman in 1952, he hit .246 in 111 games. On December 1st of that year, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox from the Pirates in the 1952 Rule V Draft. The 31-year-old Merson only got into one contest for the Red Sox in 1953. This ended his major league time and he finished out with a .257 average in 125 contests.

Jack spent the next three seasons in the Pacific Coast League with the San Diego Padres. After hitting only .253 with 2 homers in 1956, the 34-year-old decided to hang up his uniform. This ended Jack's baseball run and he finished up his 10-year minor league jaunt hitting .288 with 50 home runs in 1,067 games.

After baseball, Merson, who worked as a supervisor for the state of Maryland House of Corrections, died April 28, 2000, at age 78 in Elkridge, MD.


Baseball Players of the 1950s

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