Former All-Star Edwin Jackson took to Instagram this evening to officially announce his retirement from Major League Baseball. The right-hander played parts of 17 seasons each year from 2003-19, peaking at the highest level. Jackson suited up for 14 different MLB teams, setting the all-time record for most uniforms worn.
“19 years ago today I had the opportunity to tie my laces and step onto the field to make my debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers,” Jackson wrote. “Today I am happily hanging up my cleats and closing out a 22-year baseball career.” Jackson thanked his wife, parents, sisters, children and other members of his family and thanked the various trainers, coaches and doctors who helped him. “This sport has taught me so many life lessons and allowed me to grow into the person I am today! I will forever have memories from the sport I love and have dedicated my life to. Thanks to baseball for an amazing life experience that I will never forget,” he concluded.
A sixth-round draft of the Dodgers out of Georgia high school in 2001, Jackson soon emerged as one of the best pitching prospects in the game. He made it to the big leagues 19 years ago on his 20th birthday, playing in three of four games. He was on and off Los Angeles’ active roster for the next two seasons before being traded to the then-Devil Rays in the 2005–06 offseason.
Jackson worked primarily as a reliever for his first season in Tampa Bay, but began a complete turnaround starting in the 2007 campaign. He started seven straight seasons in which he went 30 starts and 160 innings. Jackson played in Tampa Bay until 2008 before being dealt to the Tigers for outfielder Matt Joyce. He pitched a career-best 214 innings the following year, posting a 3.62 ERA. Jackson earned an All-Star nod in the first half of that season with a 2.52 ERA.
His nomadic career continued the following offseason. Detroit flipped Jackson to the Diamondbacks as part of a three-team blockbuster that netted Detroit Max Scherzer and sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. His stint in the desert was short — he was traded again at the deadline that summer — but it led to one of the most memorable moments of his career. On June 25, 2010, he tossed a no-hitter against his former team at Tropicana Field. He threw a whopping 149 pitches in the outing, striking out six but walking eight. The then manager A.J. Hinch stuck with Jackson despite his high pitch count, and he completed one of the more remarkable single-game performances by a player in recent memory.
Shortly after, Jackson was dealt to the White Sox in a trade that landed the last-place club Arizona’s Daniel Hudson. Jackson pitched well in an 11 start down stretch and had another good start in 2011. The White Sox fell out of contention in the postseason and were on the move again. The Blue Jays acquired Jackson from the White Sox on the morning of July 27, but his tenure in Toronto lasted only a few hours. Toronto immediately flipped him to the Cardinals who sent Colby Rasmus north of the border.
Jackson played the second half in St. Louis, pitching to a 3.58 ERA through 12 starts. He made four starts in the postseason, and while his playoff numbers weren’t great, the Cardinals won a dramatic series win over the Rangers to capture the World Series title. Fresh off winning the title, Jackson signed with the Nationals during his first trip through free agency. He spent the 2012 campaign in the Nats rotation, helping Washington to their first playoff appearance since moving to D.C.
The following winter, Jackson signed a four-year, $52MM contract with the Cubs. He continued to soak up the innings but didn’t post particularly strong numbers in Chicago. He was released after two and a half seasons. An even faster journey through the league began as Jackson paced the Braves, Marlins, Padres, Orioles, Nationals (again), A’s, Blue Jays and Tigers (again) over the next four years. He alternated between the rotation and the bullpen throughout that span, usually serving as a depth substitute.
Jackson signed a minor league contract with the Diamondbacks through 2020, but did not make it back to the majors. He appeared on the U.S. Olympic team last summer and expressed desire to return to the big leagues, but didn’t get a second chance with an affiliate organization.
Overall, Jackson played in 412 major league games. He pitched 1960 with a 4.78 ERA, struck out over 1500 batters and won 107 games. According to Baseball Reference, Jackson banked on $66MM in earnings and logged some action that was surprising for almost half the league. MLBTR congratulates Jackson on his long, successful career and wishes him the best in retirement.