Jack Merson was born on January 17, 1922, in Elkridge, Maryland. He graduated from Elkridge High School in 1939. Besides baseball, he competed in track and played basketball and soccer as well, averaging 14 points per game in basketball and winning 15 athletic letters in high school, but it was in baseball that he excelled. In 1938 he struck out 15 batters to win the Howard County title over Ellicott City. Despite his success pitching, he said he simply liked infield better.
Jack played semipro ball, and played shortstop for the Elkridge Athletic Club in July 1940 against the Navy second classmen in Annapolis.
Between 1940 and 1944, he worked at Davis and Hemphill, a local machinist company. Active in community life in Elkridge, he was a charter member of the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department.
Jack spent a little over a year in the United States Army during the Second World War. He never was sent overseas. After completing basic training, he visited home on a furlough and accidentally shot himself in the knee while target shooting in his yard.
The accident with his knee did not prevent him from returning to baseball after the war. In 1946 he played shortstop in semipro ball for the Spring Grove Hospital club, the Maryland state champion.
Jack signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was assigned to the Uniontown Coal Barons in the Middle Atlantic League (Class C) for the 1947 season and led the league in runs batted in. He was sent to Class B and optioned to the York White Roses in April 1948. After the season, he moved up the ladder and was optioned to Double-A New Orleans in October.
After the 1949 season, he was added to the Pirates roster but in 1950, it was back to New Orleans for another year. He reached Indianapolis in 1951, playing second base for the Pirates’ Triple-A club and hit .295 with 10 homers and led the American Association in double plays. This earned him a September call-up to Pittsburgh. In 13 games, he had 50 at-bats and hit for a .360 average.
Back again for the 1952 season, he hit well in spring training and kept it going into late May, holding a .305 average. He couldn’t maintain the momentum, however, and as the season wore on, his average came back down to earth. His last game of the 1952 season came in August. He suffered what was described as a fracture and was out for the rest of the season.
In October the Pirates traded Jack and two other players to the Hollywood Stars in the Pacific Coast League. In December, in the major-league draft, the Boston Red Sox drafted Jack from the Hollywood team. He played in only one regular-season game for the Red Sox, in April, and was optioned to the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League.
For the next four seasons Jack played for the Padres. Despite his subpar season, the Padres won the pennant in 1954, beating Hollywood in the playoffs, and Jack received a championship ring. In 1955 he got his stroke back but 1956 became his final year in organized baseball.
Jack next took up work at an auto parts store, but then developed his own parts supply business. Thanks to a brother-in-law, who had worked there, he took up work for the Maryland House of Corrections. He advanced to become a captain, supervising the guards as a shift commander and retired in 1982.
Jack Merson passed away following a stroke, at age 78, on April 28, 2000, in Elkridge, Maryland.