Brett Jackson Debuts for Chicago Cubs

Jackson+trots+around+the+bases+after+hitting+a+solo+homerun+on+Aug.+27+against+the+Milwaukee+Brewers.

N. Dinuzzio/MCT

Jackson trots around the bases after hitting a solo homerun on Aug. 27 against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jack Kovalik, Colin Bean, Staff Writers

Miramonte alum Brett Jackson made his Major League Baseball debut for the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 5, 2012, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his debut, Jackson went 2-4 with a walk and also scored his first run in the majors.

“I was very nervous stepping up to face Joe Blanton in my first at-bat,” Jackson said. The outcome of Jackson’s first at-bat was a groundout to first base. “I felt much more comfortable and relaxed during my second at-bat, and I drew a walk.”

Jackson was drafted 31st overall in the 2009 amateur draft by the Cubs. Jackson’s arrival in the majors for the Cubs had been long awaited. Jackson was ranked the 28th overall prospect by MLB.com’s Prospect Watch entering the 2012 season. Jackson was also the third overall outfielder on the list.

Jackson found out about his call-up via telephone. The Cubs’ Director of Player Management phoned Jackson late at night on Aug. 4 to tell him the news. Jackson says he didn’t sleep a wink, and then caught a 6 a.m. flight to Los Angeles to make it in time for the Cubs-Dodgers game, saying that the flight seemed to be the longest of his life.

Jackson graduated from Miramonte in 2006, and then attended University of California Berkeley, where he played outfield for the Golden Bears for three seasons. During his time at Cal, Jackson was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 as a sophomore and made All-Pac-10 as a junior.

As a Matador, Jackson led the team to two straight North Coast Section titles in addition to being an All-CIF shortstop in 2005 and All-DFAL two times. “Winning the championships in 2004 and 2005 made for the best baseball memories and moments of my career,” Jackson said.

“Miramonte baseball is where it all started and where for the first time I truly believed I could make something of baseball,” Jackson said.

Jackson was coached by Vince Dell’ Aquila during his high school career. “I could tell he was a special player and was going to be good in college, but it was impossible to tell if he would be good in the pros,” said Dell’ Aquila. Jackson is the first player that Dell’ Aquila has coached that has gone to the majors, but some other players have gone on to the minor leagues.

Jackson says that he gets recognized in Chicago every now and then, but for the most part he slides under the radar. As for the fans in Chicago, “Cubs fans are pretty crazy and probably some of the best fans in all of sports,” Jackson said.

Some of the best fans however, are Jackson’s family. Sophomore Connor Jackson, Brett’s brother, said that having a brother in the big leagues is a very special thing. “I definitely feel a sense of pride when I get to tell someone about him,” Jackson said. “But at the same time it has made me realize that professional baseball players are the same as you and me. To me, Brett is just the good old loving brother I always knew.”

Baseball runs in the Jackson family. Drew Jackson, Brett’s other brother, is headed to Stanford this fall to play baseball for the Cardinal. Drew had been highly recruited since his sophomore year at Miramonte. Over Drew’s sophomore summer, he verbally committed to the Cardinal.

Jackson’s parents felt many of the anxious emotions that Brett himself felt. “Knowing how long the odds were that he would ever meet his childhood dream, I always carried the stress that his chances were about as good as the chances of somebody becoming an Astronaut,” said Peter Jackson, Brett’s dad.

“As you can imagine, I was very proud. It’s wonderful when your child sets a high goal for himself and achieves it through hard work and determination,” said Katie Jackson, Brett’s mom. “Seeing Brett get his first hit at Dodger Stadium was surreal. He grew up hating the Dodgers, being a huge Giants fan.”

“The night he was called up to the Majors, I felt a great sigh of relief. This would bring a new chapter that would be easier than the prior one,” Peter Jackson said.

The previous “chapter” was a long and sometimes tedious chapter for Jackson. Before he graduated high school, Jackson had played on five different summer league baseball teams. Then, after his time in Berkeley, Jackson embarked on a journey throughout developmental and minor leagues. Jackson represented America in 2010 and 2011, playing with the US National team in the World and Pan Am Games. “Nothing has ever felt more heroic to me than putting on the red white and blue & playing for my country,” Jackson tweeted on June 24.