Reggie! A chapter in A's Legacy to be cherished and be proud of...
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From the column linked above:
'Jackson could be astonishingly arrogant. Then again, the man had more than a little to be arrogant about. He is a man of pride, ego and piercing observation. He can bounce, as he did Saturday, from his own exploits; to the team-oriented nature of the Swingin' A's; to his love for Oakland; to his thinly veiled disappointment at having been dismissed from his job as an assistant coach for the A's in 1991; to the worthy causes with which he is currently involved; to the devalued nature of the stolen base in modern baseball; to his year as the only black player on the A's Birmingham farm club, and how when he couldn't find a place to live, Joe Rudi offered him a spot on his couch.'
Reggie's soft side revealed
OAKLAND -- -- For an event that otherwise might have come off as stiff, detached and forced, leave it to Dave Stewart to give Reggie Jackson Day some genuine heartfelt soul.
In fact, in the conspicuous absence of Rollie Fingers, Stewart delivered a very important save Saturday to Jackson's overdue number retirement with a marvelous story about Jackson's extraordinary humanity and generosity toward an Oakland youth in the late 1960s -- himself.
Stewart gave a vivid and remarkable recollection about how, after being rejected and then sternly lectured by outfielder Rick Monday in asking for a postgame autograph, Jackson took a shine to this local kid who used to ride his bike from his house on Havens-
court Boulevard to sneak into the Coliseum and hide in the right-field bleachers until it was safe enough to come out and watch the game.
Their first meeting came one day when Reggie happened to spot the 13-year-old Stewart's head bobbing up and down behind the bleacher seats during batting practice.
"Reggie was standing there waiting for my head to pop back
up," Stewart recalled. "When it did, he yelled, 'Hey, come down here.' So I came down, and he said, 'Boy, you're going to get in a whole lot of trouble hiding out there. They're going to take you away to jail if they catch you. If you want to go to a baseball game, I'll get you tickets.'"
It was an eventful day for the 13-year-old Stewart. He managed to secure a baseball hit by Monday during the game that night and waited long after the game was over to try to get his signature on it. But when Monday finally emerged from the clubhouse, he not only refused to sign the ball but also berated Stewart for being out so late on a school night.
Jackson, who followed Monday out of the clubhouse, was concerned as well but dealt with the kid in a different way. He gave Stewart a ride to his bike, which he had chained to a telephone pole at a nearby gas station.
"At that time, he was going out with probably one of the prettiest women I've ever seen," Stewart said, drawing an embarrassed grimace from Jackson. "But he still put me in the car, dropped me off at the gas station, asked me where I lived, and from that day, he used to pass by my house, and he'd ask me if I needed a ride.
"I'd be out waiting for him, throwing a ball against the curb," Stewart added. "More times than not, he'd put my bike in the back of the car and drive me to the game or at least to the same gas station."
After the games, Stewart subsequently would wait for Jackson at his car. There were no secured player parking lots then, so Stew would scold people who leaned against Reggie's shiny black GTO or rest their beer cups on it. Jackson would take the kid wherever he needed to go. On the way, he'd ask him about things. How was school going? Was he hungry? Did he need anything?
"I wouldn't say much," Stewart said. "I was one of those one-word kids. I'd answer 'yes,' 'no,' 'maybe.' But it was a big deal for me."
Stewart maintains today that his experiences with Jackson as a youth had a profound influence on him later on when he became a star pitcher with the A's. He strongly intimated that the myriad charities he set up for inner-city Oakland kids were a direct result of the almost fatherly attention Jackson had given him 20 years earlier.
It was particularly important, considering Stewart's real father had died around the same time.
Even now, Stewart talks about his youthful relationship with Jackson as an amazing, almost divine stroke of fate that impacts him to this day.
"I guess I was in the right place at the right time," he said. "No one else was hiding out in the right-field stands, believe me."
It's unfortunate that the 26,081 in attendance at Network Associates Coliseum couldn't have heard Stewart tell the story directly from a pregame press conference over DiamondVision. It might have given the on-field celebration a little more much-needed emotion.
Let's be honest, Jackson has done some things that will never win back the favor of many Oakland fans.
As much as he emphasized Saturday that he still owns a home here and that "Oakland will always have a place in my heart," many will never forgive him for going into the Hall of Fame as a New York Yankee.
Others have been turned off over the years by what they perceived as an abhorrent, self-serving arrogance, and still others simply des-
pise him for holding up the retirement of his own No.9 for so many years, as if it was beneath him.
Hence, the actual on-field ceremony was subdued. Some fans even booed Jackson. Had the crowd heard Stewart's story earlier, it might have given the announcement of the initial $175,000 donation to the Mr. October Foundation -- formed to fight truancy in Oakland schools -- some much-needed context.
It took awhile, but at least in his own way, Jackson has come full circle with the city of Oakland, and most importantly, the city's youth upon which he once had such a dramatic impact.
Dave Stewart is a powerful living testament to it, and perhaps he can relate Reggie's true relevance to Oakland some day before a larger audience. Perhaps when his own number is retired.
Carl Steward can be reached at (510) 293-2451 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
| By kevink on Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 04:31 pm:|
What did Reggie say in his speech?
It was nice to see that happen, even though I'm not a huge Reggie fan.
| By goldtymer on Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 05:02 pm:|
To despise Reggie is to not understand him.
Reggie said that he'd declined to have his number retired because he didn't get along with an A's executive. Who was this executive and what was the dispute? Was it because he got canned in '91? Was Reggie a hitting coach?
| By eyleenn on Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 07:54 pm:|
It was Sandy Alderson.
| By kevink on Sunday, May 23, 2004 - 09:20 pm:|
5th time, I do not by any means despise Reggie. I've just never been a big fan. Had I been old enough in the 70's to see him shining for the Oakland A's, I probably would feel differently. But my memories of Reggie are
1) Coming back to the A's in 1987, hitting somewhere around the Mendoza line and being our "rally killer" while carrying on with his superstar attitude (yes I am aware of his work with McGwire and the younger players).
2) Retiring and going back to work for the enemy Yankees.
3) Entering the Hall of Fame as a Yankee.
4) Not signing autographs (apparently if he was not getting paid for it).
Having said all that, I respect the hell out of him and his accomplishments, and appreciate that he is (literally) a genius and enjoy his commentary on many subjects when he is interviewed.
Does anyone have a transcript of the speech from Saturday? Was it printed anywhere in the internet?
once again: Reggie has always been about one thing, HIMSELF.
I am bummed the A's took the time and money to paint his little number on a wall at the Coliseum while the sellout sits in Cooperstown in pinstripes.
He is a loud, self focused joke who charges kids to give them his autograph.
I will forever remember Reggie as a guy who turned down children who begged for his autograph while he was attemping to reach the .260 mark for career hitting.
Go back to New York Reggie--they love you there
Reggie has given more to kids in Oakland than any other player I know, with the exception of Stewart...btw, the same Stew who stated he was greatly influenced by Reggie's generosity to him when he was a kid growing up in Oakland.
Anybody has all the right to dislike a player all they want, but don't start throwing out s#$%% at the guy's character unless you have something concrete to back it up.
Btw, Reggie may be loved in NY, with good reason,but he is also loved and respected by many Oakland A's fans, and there is nothing wrong with that.
So franthruiall...speak for yourself and for anybody else who may believe your trash talk about Reggie, but don't think you speak for all A's fans.
thanks Lil. GREAT post...
Always love your "gentle" rebukes. Makes me feel "cared for". (does a little bell go off on your computer when I post, because you ALWAYS respond to my posts....and always in such a loving gentle way...)
Maybe I am just striking a nerve?
I guess it makes for interesing reading for those who read from this site.
By the way, I AM speaking for myself as a child of the 70's who was ACTUALLY told to "get lost, I am busy" by Mr. .260 pinstripe dude. I was 7, asking for an autograph before a game; he was "working some young lady"...classic character. The guy was simply about himself and his home runs. He sure wasn't about his batting average...
Keep defending and supporting this guy, but remember he sits in the Hall in a uniform you and yours despise...by HIS choice.
One day, if Rickey decides he was not respected by the A's organization, he might decide to retire with the Padres or some other team that might have treated with his due...or a team who gave him a job when he still wanted to stay in baseball...
Am I going to be sad to see him retire with another team's logo?...sure I will
...but I will always remember Rickey and honor Rickey for the Oakland A's baseball he has given me as a fan.
that is GREAT!!
That is your right as a fan. And the cool thing is you and the rest of his fans here in Oakland can go visit him in the Hall and see him in his pinstripes. Maybe even buy a picture or a video of him hitting one of his three dingers in the '77 series.
I will always remember him as a self centered "all about me" Yankee who turned away a little boy.
Now I have to get back into therapy to deal with that number 9 out there on the wall in the Coliseum...
| By asch on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:18 am:|
players can't choose anymore.
so that probably means he goes in as a Yankee!
well...you know what Seinfeld said...baseball fans really root for laundry....
I also root for laundry, but I remember and honor the ones who do what it takes for that laundry to be loved and cherished.
What I can't get over is that neither the game nor the ceremony were carried on TV. Oakland honors one of its greatest players, and only the few thousand who could make it to the stadium got to see it. Fox couldn't even see fit to bump the infommercials on Channel 77.
| By asch on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:29 am:|
that is poor.
Was it shown on Sportscenter highlights atleast? I heard more fans came for the bobbleheads than the ceremony itself.
| By asch on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:30 am:|
btw, what exactly was the tiff with Alderson that RJ had?
I don't know the details of "the tiff"...
However, Reggie retired in 1987 and tried to work with the organization, much like Stew tried to work...and others from Campy to Vida Blue...to Rickey...the A's don't make a habit of keeping their legendary players around...that's a fact.
Sandy Alderson, the A's GM at the time, had a problem with Jackson and kinda turned down any efforts of him being a coach... after 5 years of trying to stick around the A's, Steinbrenner offered Reggie a job and he took it...at the same time, he was voted into the HoF and chose to go in as a Yankee in 1993.
Reggie's speech was very emotional and very touching. He openned his heart and with a lot of class and explained how he ended up going into the HoF as a Yankee.
He also said that he will always have a very special place in his heart for the A's and the fans who supported him. He is a full season ticket holder of the A's and lives in Oakland.
He has started the Mr. October foundation which has gathered corporate support from various sponsors to help the Oakland schools.
It seems that there was a terrific press conference prior to the ceremony with a very emotional story told by Steward.
Unfortunately the A's could have covered the press conference on Diamond Vision for the fans to see but never bothered to do that. Too bad.
| By asch on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:58 am:|
yeah, poor form on that for sure.
| By goldtymer on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 12:25 pm:|
I certainly understand that Reggie never really came across as the humble quiet leader type.
Reggie's bravado had much to do with having something to prove and needing acceptance and being further motivated by not getting acceptance or credit. Reggie was never good enough, Reggie could never get enough credit, Reggie had to go and get it all himself.
I believe that you and I communicated on Reggie and your reasons not to like himk long ago.
There were many players that blew me off as a kid when I was seeking an autograph.
The problem with being a public figure, athlete, actor, musician etc.. is that you are always under scrutiny. Now, before I start getting all of the "poor babies" responses and hear about how these folks chose a public career and that THEY get the BIG Bucks so tough tittie etc..
Hear me out.
Occassionally, I get frustrated and I may flip some driver off or swear at people etc..
We are all human and subject to flaw & screw up and lose patience and act less than gracefully at times.
The difference is when Goldtymer does it, it was just some @-hole nobody knows so I won't be judged my hole life by one minutes behavior.
When Reggie blows off seven year old Fanthuitall, Reggie is ShIT for the rest of his life to fanthruitall and anyone who will listen to FTIA's story.
Maybe the guy had a bad day and just signed 700 autographs, maybe the ladie was telling him his mother just died, you don't know...you just judge his entire life by on crystalized moment...
OK, One crystalized moment that put you in therapy.
Yes Reggie could be a little pompous at times (he need to be) Yes, he made mistakes, he was human. Reggie has done plenty for charity in his life and will continue and I am sure Reggie did anger more than just one fan.
Ted Williams could be a real @$$ too but it didn't make him a bad player.
I remember Reggie as a player and that is how I choose to remember him. He was one "Amazing A", I loved to watch him, I remember him tearing his hammy on a play that put us into the WS...
I remember his glory as a player in Oakland, NY, Baltimore and Anaheim. Mostly I remember him in Oakland.
As a great player, Reggie deserves to have his number retired and he deserves the gratitude of those who saw him at his best on the field.
Hey great points by Mr. Goldtymer--thanks for your insight...
I still think it is funny that is was NOT covered by Bay Area media...just desserts I suppose...
bye bye REG...love your pinstripes-
p.s. will you all be cheering when Giambi goes in the Hall and they want to retire HIS number???
| By goldtymer on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 08:06 pm:|
1st Giambi more than likely doesn't get to the HOF.
2nd, I don't think the Giambi story with Oaklandf parallels Reggies.
Because you were seven when Reggie was here and because chances are, you have not read about the situation, Giambi had an ample offer and went to the Yanks for a) more money and b) to play for the legendary Bronx Bombers where his idol, his brothers idol and most importantly his fathers idol, Mickey Mantle played.
Reggie Jackson did not leave of his own accord. Between the 1975 & 1976 seasons Reggie was traded to the Baltimore Orioles along with Kenny Holtzman for Mike Torrez, minor leaguer Paul Mitchell & a oft injured Don Baylor (bas shoulder). Now due to McNally/Messersmith decision (which was even bigger than Hunter's case) Reggie would be a free agent to start the 1977 season and so would Holtzman so Finley made the deal as Torrez was signed through 77 and so was Mitchell.
Finely was dumping talent. Free agency meant the end of Finely because in one way or another he screwed all of his players and those players given a choice would not remain with Finely. Hunter got him on the insurance clause but he had screwed Hunter several times previous.
Reggie then as a free agent signed with the Yankees (and who could blame him, after several years of getting screwed by Finely, yhe was getting his just due on the greatest stage in sports (and all this for a guy who thrived on recognition).
Giambi walked from a good GM, a good contract and a team that really wanted him.
This all being said, I am not sure Giambi doesn't end up in white shoes again before his career is over.
My point is, I am sorry Reggie didn't sign your autograph, please understand that not everyone is scarred by this experience of yours and that most of us are not subject to feel the same way that you do.
If you read, you may understand, to understand is to empower yourself and if you empower yourself, you can set your hatred free.
If you are interested, I can direct you to a few books that can help explain the climate at the time and what the motivations were. Email me for the titles.
None of this makes it OK for Reggie to be rude to you when you were seven but I am sure you have done a couple things that you have not been proud of. Wouldn't it be a shame if everyone denied your accomplishments and contributions to your industry but rather focused on the mistakes you made and defined you by them?
let it go, I have...
by the way, the therapy line was a joke...
| By oakchick on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 09:50 pm:|
In defense of Reggie, I personally know what it is like to be approached by autographs hunters, and being caught at a bad moment.
I am an incredibly accomodating person, I love my fans, and I HATE turning anyone down when they ask me for an autograph. Back in 2000, I was touring on the film festival circuit. I was in Montreal promoting a film, when I just finished signing autographs for about 2 hours, and was completely exhausted, fighting the flu, and homesick. So, when I was approached by a few fans on my way back to my hotel, I kinda lost it and went off on them. Did I felt bad about my bone-headed behavior almost immediately? YOU BET, but guess what? The damage was done: that stupid incident made it into the local press, and I was made to look like a total butt-hole. Also, I hurt someone's feelings, which always sucks.
| By ronc on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:42 pm:|
It's not like he was Keith Hernandez who spat at a fan. Second thoughts I think it was Roger McDowell who was the productive one
| By eyleenn on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:45 pm:|
It was McDowell up on the gravelly road...
| By oakchick on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:46 pm:|
Spitting at a fan? That is so wrong. The Health Department should have gone after him.
| By goldtymer on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:53 pm:|
That is why we should seek first to understand and then to be understood. Big respect for oakchick. To be a person of great character isn't to be mistake free but to be honest enough with yourself to admit the errors and have dealt with it enough to share the experience.
I am impressed.
If you had really let it go,you wouldn't have just posted this "bye bye REG...love your pinstripes-" among other things.
Try not to hate me as you do Reggie, I am simply trying to show a different viewpoint.
Perhaps therapy would be such a bad idea.
| By goldtymer on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:53 pm:|
| By oakchick on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 11:28 pm:|
Thank you, GT, for your generous comments. I still felt kinda bad about that whole thing, so I cannot say I did anything great talking about my idiotic behavior, but we are all human, and prone to bad moments, and I am sure Reggie is no different.
Fact remains that Reggie did good things for our ballclub, and he was paid to play baseball, not to be a nice guy. I have tons of respect for him as a ballplayer, and I leave it to a higher power to judge him as a human being, since I am less than perfect myself, and have difficulty behaving myself at times...
Hey oakchick, do we have a movie star in our midsts? What movies have you been in?
| By asch on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 10:27 am:|
yeah, what's up with that?
| By asch on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 10:27 am:|
yeah, what's up with that?
| By goldtymer on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 11:34 am:|
Is there an echo in here?
She also says she used to work as a dancer to pay for college, and that she is "the asian chick with the big pom poms."
| By oakchick on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 10:14 pm:|
Sorry to bum you out, 5thtime---they are not THAT big, compared to Bartolo Colon's.
| By arns9 on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 08:41 am:|
As a Yankee, I couldn't stand Reggie. But I think he's mellowed now. And let's face it: He was the greatest A's player on the greatest A's teams. And he's always stated how much the A's and Oakland meant to him. He considered retiring when Finley traded him to Baltimore because he didn't think he could play anywhere other than Oakland. Lately, he's been saying that the A's would have continued winning World Series until 1980 if Finley hadn't broken up the team. What A's fan doesn't like to hear that? Let's remember him as a great player on our greatest teams wearing number 9!
So oakchick, what was the movie you were signing autographs for in Montreal? I get asked for my autograph all the time too -- but it's usually creditors who want me to pay my bills.