Jackson says so long to T.M. Jennings Baseball League after 30 years

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Standing on a hill overlooking two of the fields used by the T.M. Jennings Baseball League, Peter Jackson can only chuckle.

&8220;When I started out, we had a box dugout and one field here (at the fields located next to Frazier Primary School),&8221; Jackson said. &8220;Now look at it.&8221;

Jackson, who has spent the last six years as president of the organization and the past 30 in various capacities within it, decided to step down recently, and he is more than happy to step aside.

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&8220;This is kind of how I&8217;d always pictured going out,&8221; he said.

Although Jackson, 73, has only been president of T.M. Jennings for six years, his involvement in the lives of young people has lasted over a generation.

&8220;I started out coaching,&8221; he said. &8220;We only had three teams at that time in 9- and 10-year-olds and 11- and 12-year-olds. We got some more teams involved in that, and then we worked on the Senior League. After a while, we had T-ball and coach-pitch.&8221;

Jackson said one of the biggest problems the T.M. Jennings League faced at the time was getting support from the area.

&8220;We had trouble getting the rec league involved,&8221; Jackson said. &8220;At that time, it was hard to get the rec people involved in baseball. We got them involved and things got better.

&8220;There wasn&8217;t that much of a problem raising funds. As long as you worked at it you could raise some funds.&8221;

With so much time spent around Natchez-area youth, Jackson had an interesting memory which has stuck with him the most.

&8220;We were playing for the state championship, and I can&8217;t even remember what year it was now,&8221; he said. &8220;We were one out away from winning a state title, and we had a boy drop a pop-up at second base and we lost the game. I&8217;ve never been able to get that one out of my head.&8221;

However, just being around young men was his most cherished memory.

&8220;Being able to coach so many young men (is my favorite memory),&8221; Jackson said. &8220;I was happy to be able to be involved with children. I probably would have been even without working in baseball. It&8217;ll be different to have kids come up to me that I don&8217;t recognize.&8221;

Jackson did acknowledge that he wouldn&8217;t be completely opposed to coming back.

&8220;I&8217;ll probably be out there (on the baseball fields) hoping they need somebody to coach,&8221; he said.