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Astros History: Sonny Jackson

Signed by the Colt .45s in 1963, Sonny Jackson made his Major League debut September 27, 1963. That game would be the only time he would see action that year, going 0-3. The next year, 1964, he played in nine games and the year after that he played in 10. It wasn't until 1966 that Sonny Jackson played a full year at the big league level.

He would finish 1966 second in Rookie of the Year voting and lead the league in sacrifice hits. His .292/.341/.335 battling line wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either, 95 OPS+.

By all accounts Jackson was a tremendous fielder (defensive WAR disagrees) and so close to average offensive production would allow him to be a productive member of a lineup. Unfortunately for Jackson 1966 was his peak year, in 1967 he hit .237/.285/.283 in 566 plate appearances. He was traded to the Atlanta Braves along with Chuck Harrison for Denny Lemaster and Denis Menke.

He would continue to struggle offensively with the Braves, although apparently they had a lot of patience with him and kept him in the organization at the Major League level for seven years. Sadly, after 12 years of baseball Jackson was out of Major League baseball. Why do I say sadly? Because he was 29 years old in his final season.

He signed with the Colt .45s and made his debut at the age of 18, his first full season was when he was 21. This is why the Astros don't call up a freshly drafted player to the big leagues, even Bryce Harper and Mike Trout spent time in the Minor Leagues despite their immense talent.

I'm not saying Jackson would have been a great player, but it's interesting to think about what he could have been if he had been given some time to develop in the Minor Leagues.

Oh, I forgot to mention he scored 151 runs in his five years with the Astros