01/23/2007 1:22 PM ET
Q&A with D-backs' Conor Jackson
By Jeff Moeller / MLBPLAYERS.com
Conor Jackson excelled in this his first full season in the Majors, hitting .291 with 15 home runs and 79 RBIs. One of Arizona's highly touted young players, Jackson hit equally well this past season against righties (.288) and lefties (.296). The former University of California at Berkeley standout, who is the son of actor John Jackson (who played Admiral A.J. Chegwidden in the TV show "JAG") finished strong, hitting .341 in September to go along with 17 RBIs. He recently answered the following questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
Conor Jackson says he modeled his game after former Dodgers stars like Kirk Gibson and Steve Sax. (AP)
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do look back upon your season?
Jackson: I seemed to be doing OK. I have personal expectations of myself, of course, that I like to meet, but as a team, on the whole, we had a few rough spots. But we stayed in the race in the NL West this year and we have a bright future ahead for this team on the whole.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You had a pretty consistent season outside of some struggles in June after a strong May. Is that just what happens in a long baseball season, especially at this level?
Jackson: Definitely. I took that experience going forward and knew there was still a lot of baseball ahead. The game at this level is a grind that I've never really felt before. You progress as a baseball player and the slumps are part of that progression.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How much did you learn in your initial callup in 2005?
Jackson: It made last season a lot less stressful. I got a lot of nerves and butterflies out of the way. I could just go out and play the game of baseball when this season started.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Throughout it all, you have taken more than your fair share of walks. Have you always exhibited the ability to take walks?
Jackson: Yeah, I've always prided myself in my walks. It's a part of the game I've actually worked on a lot throughout my career. I try to walk more than I strikeout and that philosophy has helped mold me into the player I am today.
MLBPLAYERS.com: With the experience you've accumulated in the big leagues so far, what one thing do you take as the biggest learning experience?
Jackson: That you have to play the game hard at all times. You also have to show up ready to play and work hard at it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Defensively, have you always been a first baseman?
Jackson: No. Actually I was an outfielder for awhile. I was moved to first from the outfield because we had some pretty good-hitting corner outfielders -- Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green -- ahead of me here. I think they really didn't see an opening for me out there with those guys entrenched. I get more comfortable at first as the games go along.
MLBPLAYERS.com: A good veteran first baseman in Tony Clark is also on the Arizona roster with you. How have the two of you worked together for the good of this club?
Jackson: He is such an unbelievable guy. He has made the adjustment for me so much easier. He was coming off a huge year himself in 2005 and that just shows the character that he has. He really helped me out tremendously.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Past or present, who are some of the big leaguers you either patterned your game after or were fans of while growing up?
Jackson: I went to high school in Los Angeles and was a big Dodgers fan. I liked Steve Sax, Mickey Hatcher and Kirk Gibson. I grew up watching those guys and that was my team.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You were born in Texas and went to high school in California. But you moved back to Texas before relocating full-time in Arizona. Why have you moved around so much?
Jackson: I was born in Austin and moved to Los Angeles as part of my dad's job. I moved back to Austin after I signed out of college. I like both places a lot and both are fun to visit as well.
MLBPLAYERS.com: What do you like to do away from the game for fun?
Jackson: I play a little guitar. That's my release from the game of baseball and it's something I love to do when I go home. It helps relax me.