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Twins Birthdays--May 1

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Also posted at wgom.org

Rudy Meoli (1951)
Roy Lee Jackson (1954)

Infielder Rudolph Bartholomew Meoli did not play for the Twins, but he was in their farm system for a couple of months in 1979. He was born in Troy, New York, went to high school in Covina, California, and was drafted by California in the fourth round in 1969. He hit .351 in rookie ball, but after that his averages, while solid enough, are not that impressive, especially when combined with the fact that he had little power. He did, however, draw quite a few walks, giving him very good OBPs. He moved steadily up the ladder, reaching AA in 1971 (a year when he got a September call-up) and AAA in 1972. He was in the majors for all of 1973, a year in which he was they Angels’ “most regular” shortstop, starting 87 games. He did not hit, batting only .223, and spent much of 1974 in the minors, coming back to California at the end of July. He got another full year in the majors in 1975 as a utility player, batting .214 in 126 at-bats. The Angels gave up on him at that point, and he started moving around. California traded him to San Diego after the 1975 season, but he was traded again, this time to Cincinnati, before the 1976 season started. He was in AAA Indianapolis for two seasons, then was sold to the Cubs before the 1978 campaign. He started the season as a utility infielder for the Cubs, but hit even worse than previously and was sent back to AAA in early July. The Cubs released him after the season and he signed with Philadelphia for 1979. He got back to the big leagues for about six weeks, but again did nothing offensively and was sold to Minnesota in late June. He was in AAA the rest of the season, batting .265/.360/.365 in 189 at-bats. He was released by the Twins prior to the 1980 season, signed with San Francisco, but was released at the end of spring training and his playing career ended. There was obviously something teams liked about him, because he kept getting chances, but he hit .212/.289/.267 in 626 major league at-bats spread over six seasons. He seems to be fondly remembered in his original home town of Troy. At last report, Rudy Meoli was the owner of Global Marketing Technologies of Placentia, California, and was a consultant for E-Z Sales & Marketing, Inc. of Gardena, California.



Right-hander Roy Lee Jackson made 28 appearances for the Twins in 1986. Born and raised in Opelika, Alabama, he attended Tuskegee University and signed with the Mets as a free agent in 1975. He was a starter early in his minor league career and pitched well, reaching AAA in 1977. He pitched well in AAA for four consecutive years, consistently posting ERAs in the mid-threes, but got only brief chances in the majors until 1980, when he began shifting to the bullpen. He was with the Mets for the second half of the season that year and was pretty average. After the season, Jackson was traded to Toronto. He was a pretty valuable man in the Blue Jays’ bullpen for four seasons. His best year was probably 1982, when he was 8-8, 3.06 with a 1.11 WHIP in 97 innings. Jackson was still pitching well for Toronto in 1984, but was released late in spring training in 1985. He did not sign for a month and then went to AAA with Baltimore. The Orioles traded him to San Diego in late June. He pitched well for the Padres, but was released again late in spring training of 1986. The Twins signed him the same day. He made 28 appearances as a Twin and actually pitched fairly well, posting a 3.86 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 58.1 innings. Still, the Twins let him become a free agent, and he signed with Milwaukee for 1987. Jackson made four appearances at AAA for the Brewers, did poorly, and his playing career came to a sudden end. He believes that the sudden end to his career was because he was vocal about his Christian religious beliefs. The charge is hard to prove, of course, but he sure seemed to get released a lot for a pitcher who wasn’t that bad. The Museum of East Alabama, located in “historic downtown Opelika”, has “a large selection of memorabilia from Roy Lee’s Career”, so if you’re ever in historic downtown Opelika, be sure to stop by. Roy Lee Jackson is currently living in his home town of Opelika, where he is the pastor of the New Creation Service Center, a non-denominational church.
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