Jack Aker

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Jackie Delane Aker

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Biographical Information[edit]

Originally signed by the Kansas City Athletics as an outfielder, Jack Aker (pronounced "ache-er") converted to pitching before making his big league debut in 1964. He quickly became a vital part of the Kansas City bullpen. In 1966, Jack was named Fireman of the Year by The Sporting News after posting a 1.99 ERA and a then-record 32 saves in 66 games (113 innings). He was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the 1968 Expansion Draft after Charlie Finley left him unprotected for having the nerve to be player rep, leading to a series of run-ins between the two. He was soon traded to the New York Yankees, posting back to back 2.06 ERAs in 1969 and 1970 over 79 appearances, all while having battled back from back surgery. He later played for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and New York Mets, but the chronic back pain took its toll, sounding the final bell in 1974. Aker pitched in 495 big league games, all in relief and mostly on mediocre to bad teams. He primarily wore number 23 (with the A's and Pilots) and number 22 (with the Yankees and Mets).

After his playing career ended, Aker was a minor league manager and a Cleveland Indians coach in 1986 and 1987. He was pitching coach of the Buffalo Bisons in 1983 and Burlington Braves in 1988. He currently runs a baseball camp in the New York/New Jersey area. Nicknamed "Chief" because of his American Indian heritage, he also offers free baseball clinics to Native American youth in the southwest U.S. His son, Matt, has coached college ball.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
1975 Visalia Mets California League 67-73 5th (t) New York Mets none
1976 Lynchburg Mets Carolina League 64-75 4th New York Mets none
1977 Lynchburg Mets Carolina League 78-60 1st New York Mets Lost League Finals
1978 Lynchburg Mets Carolina League 72-63 2nd New York Mets League Champs
1979 Lynchburg Mets Carolina League 61-73 5th New York Mets none
1980 Lynchburg Mets Carolina League 71-68 5th New York Mets
1981 Tidewater Tides International League 70-68 3rd New York Mets Lost in 1st round
1982 Tidewater Tides International League 74-63 3rd New York Mets League Champs
1984 Buffalo Bisons Eastern League 72-67 5th Cleveland Indians
1985 Waterbury Indians Eastern League 75-64 2nd (t) Cleveland Indians Lost in 1st round

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