Reggie Jackson’s MLB Career: The Best Hitter of His Time

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Reggie Jackson was one of the best baseball players of his time. He established himself as a clutch hitter, and his postseason performances earned him the moniker Mr. October. Jackson played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 21 seasons and earned his spot in the Hall of Fame selection of 1993. In this post, we’ll walk you through Reggie Jackson’s MLB career.

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Reggie Jackson’s Early Years  

Reggie Jackson’s MLB Career: The Best Hitter of His Time
Former baseball player Reggie Jackson. Source: Wikimedia Commons  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 

Reginald “Reggie” Martinez Jackson grew up in Cheltenham Township with his father after he separated from his mother. His dad was a baseball player but worked as a tailor to provide for Reggie and his siblings. 

He played sports from an early age: football, basketball, and baseball. He played for his high school team and hit .550 on the field. However, Reggie Jackson’s injuries playing football meant that he couldn’t continue playing. 

Doctors warned he was at a high risk of never walking again, but Reggie went back to playing before he completely recovered. 

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Reggie Jackson’s MLB Career

College Career

Despite his sporting interests, his father was keen on him getting a college education. Arizona State University offered him a football scholarship. Reggie played as a defensive back but wasn’t amused. It’s why he approached the school’s baseball coach and asked to join the team.

His test performance was good enough for coach Bobby Winkles to allow him to train with the team. However, he couldn’t feature in competitive games due to rules barring freshman players from playing. Nonetheless, Reggie Jackson permanently switched to baseball.

In his second year, Jackson broke records and caught the attention of some of the most notable scouts in the game. 

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Professional Career

Reggie Jackson’s MLB career began in the minor leagues. In 1966, the Kansas City Athletics drafted him. His debut for the team wasn’t the jaw-dropping performances he’d put in, but he gradually settled into his pro career. 

The following year, he stepped up to the big league. On his first appearance, he made 49 home runs and was on course to break Roger Maris’s record of 61 home runs for a single season. In 1970, he was sent to the minor league after sloppy performances but returned in 1971  in style.

Oakland Athletics won the World Series in 1972, the first of Reggie Jackson’s MLB career. He won two more in 1973 and 1974. In 1973, he hit 32 runs, 99 runs, and 117 RBIs and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Year. 

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New York Yankees

After losing the 1975 playoffs, Reggie Jackson joined the Baltimore Orioles before he joined the New York Yankees in 1977. It took him some time to settle in, but Jackson was unstoppable when he did. 

He helped them to win the World Series title and was also the Most Valuable Player. He earned the name “Mr. October” because of his epic off-season performances. The Yankees clinched the title again in 1978 and after that, Reggie Jackson’s MLB career came to a slow end.  

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California Angels

By the end of the 1981 season, Reggie Jackson’s contract wasn’t renewed by the Yankees which saw him join California Angels. However, Reggie couldn’t replicate the success he enjoyed in his first two teams. Although he won the West Division in two years, the hitter never won a World Series. Reggie Jackson’s MLB career came to an end in 1987. 

In total, Reggie Jackson completed his career with 563 home runs, 1,072 runs, 2,584 hits and a batting average of .262.

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Post-Retirement

After a wonderful career, Reggie Jackson got more opportunities elsewhere. He worked as a commentator and was a special advisor for the New York Yankees and also worked for the Houston Astros in the same capacity, 

In 2013, Reggie Jackson wrote the book Becoming Mr. October.

In 2023, he made a documentary titled “Reggie” that captures his iconic career.

Reggie Jackson’s MLB career remains to be one of the best of a black athlete. For a sport that black people still struggle to get into, Reggie showed that anyone, regardless of their color, can succeed.

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