Today at Mitchell & Ness we pay tribute to Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on this day nine years ago. Jackson was born in 1946 outside of Philadelphia, where he became a multi-sport star at Cheltenham High School. Recruited for baseball and football. Recruited by colleges for both, Jackson chose to attend Arizona State for baseball primarily. But after showing off his talents to the school's baseball coach and being forced into a position change at football, baseball would become his sole game.
A collegiate All-American, Jackson was drafted 2nd overall in the 1966 Draft by the Kansas City Athletics. Reggie would break through quickly, debuting just a year later in 1967 before the club moved to Oakland. Jackson would become a star in Oakland, especially with his breakout 1969 season that saw Jackson hit a career-high 47 home runs. Jackson would become a perennial All-Star, as the A's began to turn into a dynasty. Oakland won back-to-back-to-back World Series from 1972-74, led by Jackson's bat. 1973 was Jackson's most honored year, as the outfielder won both the American League and World Series MVP. However, the rise of free agency would find Jackson leaving Oakland.
A's Owner Charlie O. Finley, unwilling to pay Jackson's increased wages, traded the player to the Baltimore Orioles for one season. Jackson would play one season in Maryland, trying the consecutive game home run record at six. But after the season, the free agent was rewarded by the Yankees with a five-year contract totaling $2.96 million. Jackson would become a divisive figure in New York, earning the ire of George Steinbrenner, manager Billy Martin and catcher Thurman Munson while putting up his same strong numbers. The disfunctional clubhouse was nonetheless successful, as the Yanks reached the the World Series versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jackson would put on an iconic performance, hitting three home runs in the series-clinching game six, as Jackson took home another World Series MVP.
Jackson and the Yankees would repeat in '78 over the Dodgers, giving Jackson his fifth and last World Series Championship. Jackson would continue to star with the Yankees for another three seasons. But his last at-bats would come as the Dodgers got their revenge, defeating the Yankees in the 1981 World Series. A free agent, Jackson signed a five-year contract to join the California Angels. Jackson would help the Angels win two AL West division titles in 1982 and 1986, but ALCS losses kept Jackson from ever returning to the World Series. At the age of 40 Jackson signed a contract to return to the A's for his last season, wearing his now iconic #44 instead of his original #9. He retired after that 1987 season, posting a legendary 21 season career.
Mitchell & Ness remembers Jackson on the anniversary of his first-ballot Hall of Fame election, where the legend of Oakland, New York, and Anaheim's plaque resides. Mitchell & Ness offers authentics for Jackson on his three iconic franchises, which you can check out here. Here are a couple of our offerings: