Reggie Jackson

64

Reggie Jackson : biography

May 18, 1946 –

California Angels (1982–1986) and Oakland Athletics (1987)

Jackson became a free-agent again once the 1981 season was over. The owner of the California Angels, legendary entertainer Gene Autry, had heard of Jackson’s desire to return to California to play, and signed him to a five-year contract.

On April 27, 1982, in Jackson’s first game back at Yankee Stadium with the Angels, he broke out of a terrible season-starting slump to hit a home run off former teammate Ron Guidry. The at-bat began with Yankee fans, angry at Steinbrenner for letting Jackson get away, starting the "Reg-GIE!" chant, and ended it with the fans chanting "Steinbrenner sucks!" By the time of Jackson’s election to the Hall of Fame, Steinbrenner had begun to say that letting him go was the biggest mistake he has made as Yankee owner.

That season, the Angels won the American League West, and would do so again in 1986, but lost the American League Championship Series both times. On September 17, 1984, on the 17th anniversary of the day he hit his first home run, he hit his 500th, at Anaheim Stadium off Bud Black of the Royals.

In 1987, he signed a one-year contract to return to the A’s, wearing the number 44 with which he was now most associated rather than the number 9 he previously wore in Oakland. He announced he would retire after the season, at the age of 41. In his last at-bat, at Comiskey Park in Chicago on October 4, he collected a broken-bat single up the middle, but the A’s lost to the White Sox, 5–2. He is the last Kansas City A’s player to play in a Major League Baseball game.

Legacy

Jackson played 21 seasons and reached the post-season in 11 of them, winning six pennants and five World Series. His accomplishments include winning both the regular-season and World Series MVP awards in 1973, hitting 563 career home runs (sixth all-time at the time of his retirement), maintaining a .490 career slugging percentage, being named to 14 All-Star teams, and the dubious distinction of being the all-time leader in strikeouts with 2,597 (he finished with 13 more career strikeouts than hits). Jackson was the first major leaguer to hit one hundred home runs for three different clubs, having hit over 100 for the Athletics, Yankees, and Angels. Reggie Jackson is the only player in the 500 home run club that never had consecutive 30 home run seasons in a career.

Notes

Post-retirement honors

Jackson and Steinbrenner would reconcile, and Steinbrenner would hire him as a "special assistant to the principal owner", making Jackson a consultant and a liaison to the team’s players, particularly the minority players. By this point, the Yankees, long noted for being slow to adapt to changes in race relations, have come to develop many minority players in their farm system and seek out others via trades and free agency. Jackson usually appears in uniform at the Yankees’ current spring training complex in Tampa, Florida, and has been sought out for advice by current stars such as Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. "His experience is vast, and he’s especially good with the young players in our minor league system, the 17- and 18-year old kids. They respect him and what he’s accomplished in his career. When Reggie Jackson tells a young kid how me might improve his swing, he tends to listen", said Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees’ managing general partner and co-chairperson.

Jackson was inducted to the Hall of Fame in . He chose to wear a Yankees cap on his Hall of Fame plaque after the Oakland Athletics unceremoniously fired him from a coaching position in 1991.

The Yankees retired his uniform number 44 on August 14, 1993, shortly after his induction into the Hall of Fame. The Athletics retired his number 9 on May 22, 2004. He is one of only eight Major League Baseball players to have their numbers retired by more than one team, and one of only three to have different numbers retired by two MLB teams.

In 1999, Jackson placed 48th on Sporting News 100 Greatest Baseball Players. That same year, he was named one of 100 finalists for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, but was not one of the 30 players chosen by the fans.