Shock loss: Tribute to an Ipswich 'marathon' man
THE Ipswich Musketeers will pay tribute to a "man of steel'' when they line up in this weekend's Greater Brisbane League baseball matches.
Ipswich club players and officials have been rocked by the sudden loss of premiership-winning pitcher Kim "Lefty'' Jessop, who was only 60.
Lefty was one of Ipswich's most reliable throwers during an incredible era when Musketeers won four consecutive Brisbane competition premierships between 1986 and 1989.
In a premiership-deciding final in 1986, Lefty threw a marathon 17 innings against the Red Sox Indians.
Musketeers had won the Friday night game and had a chance to clinch the three-match series on Sunday.
In a monumental performance, Jessop started the game at 2pm and was still pitching under the Holloway Field lights at 10pm. He threw 276 pitches in that brutal encounter, a feat unheard of years later.
Although Ipswich lost that game, they wrapped up the premiership a few nights later, inspired by Lefty's determination. He was in the bullpen for that decider ready to help out again if needed.
Former Musketeers manager Brian "Ziggy'' Zeidler said the Bandits, Queensland and Australian player always put his heart and soul into representing Ipswich.
"It is with heavy hearts that Lefty passed away on Tuesday,'' Zeidler said.
Former teammate and current Musketeers club president Jon Campbell was also stunned by the news.
"It's a bit of a shock,'' Campbell said. "He was a guy that looked after himself pretty well.''
As a second baseman, Campbell saw first hand how competitive Lefty was with a baseball in hand.
"No one wanted it more than what he did,'' Campbell said.
"He was a guy you hated to play against but loved to play with. He had a very strong personality. He was a winner.''
Campbell said the Musketeers players would observe a minute's silence and wear black arm bands in this week-end's GBL matches.
Zeidler recalls Lefty's invaluable contribution to the club.
Musketeers won its first grand final in 1967 and had a lean time until left-handed thrower Jessop arrived in 1985, having previously played with All Stars.
With Jessop on board, Musketeers won premierships in 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88 and 1988-89.
"Kim gave 100 percent every time he walked to the mound,'' Zeidler said.
"He was a true gentleman and of upstanding character with determination to succeed.''
Jessop left Musketeers in 1990 to join the Brisbane Bandits when the Australian Baseball League was formed.
However, he would always turn up to the Musketeers Old Boys days.
Jessop represented Australia at the 1988 Seoul Olympics with other Musketeers stalwarts like Peter Vogler and Peter Wood.
"One game that stands out for me and we lost was against Red Sox in the second final game (in 1986),'' Zeidler said.
"Having won game one, Kim pitched a marathon 17 innings to lose 2-1 and send it to game three, which Musketeers won.
"In that 17 innings Red Sox Ron Carter, an American import, hit two home runs, the last one in the 17th innings.
"To stay on the mound the 17 innings is what I call GOAT - the "greatest of all time''.
At the funeral of another Musketeers stalwart Clive Jones, Jessop delivered an emotional eulogy about his former coach and friend.
Zeidler said thoughts and deepest sympathies were with Kim's family, his wife Nicole and daughter Jaimee.
Funeral arrangements were yet to be confirmed.