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Grant Jackson, the pitcher who earned the win in Game 7 of the 1979 World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died Tuesday due to complications caused by COVID-19. He was 78.
Jackson pitched 18 seasons in the majors for six teams, but it was his role out of the bullpen for the "We Are Family" Pirates that endeared him most especially to Pittsburgh fans.
"This pandemic has affected every family throughout our community, and the Pirates family is no different," Pirates president Travis Williams said in a statement.
"As the winning pitcher for the Pirates in Game 7 of the 1979 World Series, Grant was a World Series Champion and All-Star, who remained dedicated to the Pirates and the City of Pittsburgh since his retirement in 1982," Williams said. "More so than any on-field accomplishment, Grant was a proud family man. Our sincere condolences and support go to his wife Millie (Milagro), his children Debra, Yolanda and Grant Jr., as well as his 10 grandchildren. He will be missed."
On Oct. 17, 1979, Jackson came on to pitch in the fifth inning of Game 7 with the Pirates trailing 1-0. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win after Willie Stargell's two-run home run put the Pirates in the lead. It capped a superb postseason for Jackson, who didn't give up a run in 6 2/3 innings spanning six appearances.
"Winning Game (7) of the 1979 World Series was my biggest thrill in baseball, no doubt," Jackson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2005. "People from that era here in Pittsburgh still remember it like it was yesterday."
Jackson also pitched in the 1971 World Series with the Orioles and 1976 October Classic with the Yankees, making 13 postseason appearances in his career. He went 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA overall.
Jackson went 86-75 with a 3.46 ERA, 889 strikeouts and 79 saves in 692 games for the Philadelphia Phillies (1965-70), Baltimore Orioles (1971-76), New York Yankees (1976), Montreal Expos (1981), Kansas City Royals (1982) and Pirates (1977-81, 1982).
Jackson was named to the National League All-Star team in 1969 as a member of the Phillies. He started 35 games and went 14-18 with a 3.34 ERA in 253 innings.
The left-hander, who was born and raised in Fostoria, Ohio, also served as the Pirates' pitching/bullpen coach from 1983-85.
(Field Level Media)