Will “Cannonball” Jackman was born around 1897 or 1899 in Carta, Texas. It is believed his love for baseball might have been formed while watching the nearby spring training camp of the New York Giants in San Antonio.
Jackman, whose sports career spanned over 30 years, was a right-handed pitcher in the early 20th century. He joined the Boston Colored Giants in the 1924-1925 season and played until he was well into his sixties. He won more than half of the 1,200 games he pitched over 20 years, with nearly 800 strikeouts and more than 40 shutouts.
Jackman was often referred to as being the “Satchel Paige of New England.” He reportedly earned $175 a game and $10 per strikeout. In 1930, the media and newspapers called Jackman “the world’s greatest colored pitcher,” and credited him with a 48-4 record in 1929 with two no-hitters.
Throughout his career, he played for a variety of teams, such as the Philadelphia Giants, the Philadelphia Tigers, the Brooklyn Eagles, the Newark Eagles, and the Boston Royal Giants. He was voted number one in the 1952 Pittsburgh Courier’s player-voted poll of the “all-time great Negro League players.”
Jackman died on September 8, 1972. In his honor, an organization that promotes baseball among youth in low-urban communities was formed, The Cannonball Foundation.