About Reggie Jackson
Jackson was born in 1946 in Wyncote, Pennsylvania. In high school he played football, basketball, baseball and ran track. Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma were all willing to break the color barrier to get Jackson for football and the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins all wanted him for baseball.
Jackson at Arizona State
Jackson attended Arizona State on a football scholarship and after trying out for the baseball team, switched sports after his freshman year. Jackson worked out with a Baltimore Orioles’ amateur team to improve his skills and Baltimore offered him a deal which he turned down. His sophomore year, Jackson broke Arizona State’s record for most home runs in a season.
2nd Overall Pick in 1966 MLB Draft
Jackson declared for the 1966 MLB Draft and was taken as the second-overall pick by the Kansas City Athletics. After a year in the minors, Reggie made his first major league appearance in June of 1967 for the A’s and the team relocated to Oakland the next year. In 1972, Oakland made it to and won the World Series but Jackson was unable to play after tearing a hamstring in the ALCS.
World Series MVP
1973 saw the A’s return to the World Series and Jackson led them to a win over the New York Mets and was named both AL MVP and World Series MVP. Oakland won the series again in 1974 over the Dodgers.
Jackson Becomes “Mr. October” with Yankees
Jackson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in April of 1976 and then signed by the New York Yankees to a $3 million contract in November. 1977 saw the beginning of Jackson’s tenure as “Mr. October.” The Yankees arrived in the World Series and Jackson hit home runs in Games 4 and 5. But it was Game 6 against the Dodgers when Reggie hit three home runs in the game to lead the Yanks to a Series win and Reggie’s second Series MVP.
The Yankees returned in 1978 and Jackson helped New York beat the Dodgers again for another World Series title. 1981 was the last year of Jackson’s contract with the Yankees and they went back to the World Series but the Dodgers finally got the best of the Yankees and beat them in six games.
Jackson Joins 500 Club
Jackson signed with the California Angels in 1982 and led the Halos to the ALCS that year and in 1986 but failed to advance. In 1984, Jackson joined the 500 Club when he took Bud Black of the Royals deep on the 17th anniversary of Jackson’s first major league home run.
Career Stats and Legacy
Jackson appeared in the postseason 11 of his 21 years, winning five World Series. While ending his career with 563 career home runs, he is also the league leader in career strikeouts. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 — choosing to wear a Yankees cap. New York retired his number 44 that year and the Athletics retired his number 9 in 2004. He was a 14 time All-Star, 5 time World Series champion, and is widely regarded as one of the best clutch hitters baseball’s ever seen.
- Born: May 18, 1946
- Hometown: Abington, Pa.
- Height: 6-0
- Weight: 195 pounds
- Bats: Left
- Throws: Left
- Family: Ex-wife, Jenni; daughter, Kimberly
- Primary position: Right field
Before the bigs:
- The son of a Negro Leagues bus driver, he grew up in Wyncote, Pa.
- Suffered a serious knee injury and fractured five cervical vertebrae playing high school football. He spent six weeks in the hospital.
- A tremendous football tailback, he was recruited by several big-time programs and decided to attend Arizona State to play football.
- Tried out for baseball as a freshman, and after he was switched to defense in football, he switched permanently to baseball.
- Broke an Arizona State record for home runs as a sophomore and was named first-team All-American.
- Drafted by the Kansas City A’s in 1966 as the second overall pick behind catcher Steve Chilcott.
- Spent just one year in the minors. He hit 23 home runs in Class A ball in 1966, and played most of the 1967 season with Double-A Birmingham, hitting .293 with 17 homers, 17 triples, 58 RBI and 17 steals in 114 games.
- One of the best right fielders ever, Jackson played on 11 division winners, six pennant-winners and five World Series champions.
- Batted .357 in 27 career World Series games and hit 10 World Series home runs, earning the nickname “Mr. October.”
- Called up to Kansas City in June 1967 and then to the majors for good in September 1967. He hit his first of his 563 career home runs on Sept. 17, 1967 against the Angels’ Jim Weaver.
- After the A’s moved to Oakland, Jackson became a regular in right field, hitting 29 homers in 1968. Had a breakout season in 1969, batting .275 with 47 homers and 118 RBI. He finished fifth in MVP voting and made the first of 14 All-Star teams.
- Hit a home run that struck a light standard on the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium in Detroit during the 1971 All-Star Game.
- Played in the playoffs for the first time in 1971, hitting the first two of 18 career postseason home runs in an ALCS loss to Baltimore.
- The A’s won the championship in 1972, but Jackson missed the World Series with a torn hamstring.
- Won the MVP of the American League in 1973, when he hit .293 and led the league with 32 homers and 117 RBI. The A’s returned to the World Series and repeated as champions, beating the Mets, and Jackson was named MVP.
- Traded to the Baltimore Orioles in April 1976 a trade that would sent Don Baylor and Mike Torrez to Oakland. He played just one season in Baltimore, but Jackson hit six home runs in consecutive games for the Orioles, tying an AL record.
- Signed with the New York Yankees as a free agent before the 1977 season, agreeing to a five-year, $2.96 million contract.
- Hit 32 homers in 1977 and had one of the greatest games in baseball history in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, when he hit three home runs off three different Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers as the Yankees won the World Series. His five World Series home runs set a record, and he became the first player to be World Series MVP with two different teams.
- The Yankees repeated in 1978, and Jackson hit 27 homers and drove in 97 runs.
- Batted a career-best .300 and hit 41 home runs, tying for the AL lead, in 1980. He was second in MVP voting.
- Made the World Series for the final time in 1981, when the Yankees lost to the Dodgers.
- Signed as a free agent with the California Angels in 1982 and had a strong first season at age 36, hitting .275 with a league-leading 39 home runs.
- Finished his career on a one-year contract back in Oakland in 1987. He was the last Kansas City A’s player to play in a game.
- Also holds a major-league record for the most strikeouts in big-league history with 2,597.
Off the field:
- Known as flamboyant and outspoken and often rubbed teammates the wrong way, first in Oakland and then in New York, where he became the star attraction in the “Bronx Zoo.”
- Worked as a broadcaster during and immediately following his career. Also acted in several movies, famously in the comedy movie “The Naked Gun,” in which he was programmed to kill the queen of England during an appearance at an Angels game.
- Has worked as a consultant with the Yankees.