Jackson Bulls player’s art work featured on 100th state tourney program

By Lee Larson

This story originally appeared on Lee Larson’s Substack Sports Rx and is republished with permission.

He may not be the most interesting man in the world. That title goes to the guy in the beer commercials on TV.

But if Blaise Jacobsen is not THE most interesting man in Jackson County, he’s on the short list.

He’s an art teacher and an artist, as well as a longtime amateur baseball player and high school and American Legion coach.

Blaise combined those worlds recently when he submitted the winning artwork that will be used on the cover of the official program for this year’s state amateur baseball tournament, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

That tournament is played over three weekends starting in mid-August culminating with state championship games on Labor Day. This year’s sites are Delano, Dassel and Litchfield.

The Jackson High School graduate is in his 20th season with the Jackson Bulls. He played with the Bulls from 1996-1998 and then moved on to other teams for several years before settling back in Jackson and has played with the Bulls continuously since 2010.

Blaise teaches art in the Jackson County Central school district and examples of his work can be found in several locations around Jackson. Any time that you see the JCC Huskies logo, that’s one of Blaise’s works.

His baseball travels have found him and a pair of Jackson Bulls teammates, Andy Wolf and Pat Boggess, traveling to Florida a couple of times to play in the Roy Hobbs World Series with a team from Russia.

It was entertaining talking with him on the radio for about 45 minutes about that experience several years ago. One of the highlights of that interview was hearing Blaise’s Russian accent as he talked about getting in a car at the airport not speaking Russian with a guy named Ivan, who had a limited English vocabulary.

A player from another team they met at that tournament was former major league pitcher Bill “The Spaceman” Lee, who was 70-plus years old.

Lee played 14 seasons in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos. He was the starting pitcher in two games in the 1975 World Series vs. Cincinnati, pitching six and one-third innings in Game 7 and left with Boston leading 3-2.

That relationship led to Lee conducting some clinics in the Iowa Great Lakes area with Wolf, who is in his first year as the head baseball coach at Okoboji High School.

It also led to Lee, who still plays occasionally with the Savannah Bananas, an exhibition baseball team, asking Blaise to be his catcher for a Bananas-style scrimmage with the Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire High School baseball team last July.

Blaise coached at Heron Lake-Okabena for a number of years, has been a varsity assistant coach with the Huskies in his time at JCC and also coached the Jackson American Legion team for several years, culminating with a sixth-place finish at last year’s state Division II tournament last summer.

He’s stepped away from the Legion duties this summer for several reasons.

There were some conflicts with Bulls games last summer and Blaise continues to play townball and one of his teammates is his son, Gavin. Blaise is primarily a designated hitter for Jackson while Gavin, who has played two seasons at Bethany Lutheran College, is one of the Bulls’ starting pitchers and will play elsewhere when he’s not on the mound.

Also, his daughter, Harper, who will be in fifth grade this fall, is active in several sports. It’s worked out that his wife, Dustene, has followed Harper while Blaise has been with Gavin, but Blaise would like to be able to attend more of her events as well.

And there’s another venture that has largely been a project for Blaise and Gavin, but certainly involves the entire family.

Killer Pizza.

Killer Pizza is a wood-fired New York City style pizza made in an oven in the family’s backyard on Riverside Drive in Jackson.

Killer Pizza made its public debut Friday with Blaise and Gavin selling out their 25 allotted pies in a little over two hours. You can check out their Facebook page to learn more.

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