Jackie Delane Aker (born July 13, 1940 in Tulare, California) is a former right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. He is of Potawatomi ancestry. [] He was signed by the Kansas City Athletics before the 1960 season, and played for the Kansas City A's (1964-1967), Oakland A's (1968), Seattle Pilots (1969), New York Yankees (1969-1972), Chicago Cubs (1972-1973), Atlanta Braves (1974), and New York Mets (1974).
Aker was used exclusively in relief during his 11-year career. He appeared in 495 games, none as a starter, and was one of the American League's best closers of his era.
One of his best seasons was in 1966 when he led the American League in saves (32) and games finished (57), had an ERA of 1.99, finished 13th in the MVP voting, and was named AL Fireman of the Year by The Sporting News.
One of the original Seattle Pilots, Aker earned a save in the first game in franchise history, a 4-3 win over the California Angels (April 8, 1969)
Other career highlights include:
pitched 6.1 innings of relief, allowing just one run, to earn the W in a 10-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles (September 10, 1965)
earned save # 30 for the season with 3.2 innings of shutout relief vs. the California Angels (September 7, 1966)
pitched the last 8.1 innings of a 15-inning loss to the Boston Red Sox, striking out a career-high 8 and allowing just two runs (April 29, 1967)
in just the eighth baseball game ever played at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, pitched the last 5 innings, allowing no runs and earning the W, in an 11-inning win over the New York Yankees (April 24, 1968)
held All-Stars Sandy Alomar, Sal Bando, Bert Campaneris, Tommy Harper, Elston Howard, Gary Matthews, Lee May, Bobby Richardson, Pete Rose, George Scott, Zoilo Versalles, and Leon Wagner to a .080 collective batting average (9-for-112)
held Hall of Famers Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, Al Kaline, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Frank Robinson, Mike Schmidt, and Carl Yastrzemski to a .156 collective batting average (15-for-96)
Aker finished his career with a total of 47 wins, 45 losses, 123 saves, 321 games finished, and an ERA of 3.28.
After his playing days ended, Aker managed in the minor leagues from 1975-1985, winning the Governor's Cup (International League Championship) with the 1982 Tidewater Tides (Mets organization), and was the Cleveland Indians pitching coach from late 1985 to 1987. He left pro baseball after the 1988 season to teach children, and since then has offered camps, clinics, and baseball instruction, through his "Jack Aker Baseball" academy. In 1997, he was honored by President Clinton with a "Giant Steps Award" for coaching for his work teaching at-risk Native American children on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico.
As of 2008, Aker was living in New Jersey with his wife, Jane Charnin-Aker. In 2001, Charnin-Aker won $250,000 on the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Their son, Joshua Charnin-Aker, appeared on "Jeopardy!" Kids Week in 2002 and swims for Stanford University.
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