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Reggie Jackson would prefer not to be next to Billy Martin in Monument Park

Reggie Jackson looks on during batting practice prior

Reggie Jackson looks on during batting practice prior to Game 4 of the ALCS. (Oct. 17, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Tuesday night's HBO "Real Sports" features a Bryant Gumbel sitdown with Reggie Jackson, who is promoting his new book, "Becoming Mr. October," in which he weighs in on a number of topics.

One of them is the way he was portrayed in the ESPN series, "The Bronx is Burning," back in 2007. Another is his ongoing dislike of Billy Martin.

Here are excerpts from the segment that HBO was nice enough to send:

REGGIE JACKSON: “To this day, I don't have a relationship really with ESPN.  It was something that hurt me quite a bit, the way I was portrayed.”

BRYANT GUMBEL: “I'm surprised that stuff wouldn't just roll off your back, and you'd just view it as one more brick in the wall.”

JACKSON: “I was very offended by it.”

Jackson said the book in part was a response to the series.

JACKSON: “I wanted to stand on a box and say, ‘Hey, I'm not that guy.’ ”

GUMBEL: “But wouldn't you say the most widespread image of you was that you were prima donna?”

JACKSON: “The most widely thought perception I think people would have would be, 'Who's he think he is?’ "

Here is Jackson once again recounting his infamous quotes about being "the straw that stirs the drink," and that then captain Thurman Munson "can only stir it bad":

JACKSON: “Didn't say either one.  Didn't say either one.  Wouldn't have said it.  Even though I was 30, I was smart enough then—arrogant, yes-- boastful, yes.  But this guy was the most valuable player that year.  You ain't the straw that stirs his drink, dummy.”

GUMBEL: “That-- can I say started a lotta your problems?”

JACKSON: “Oh, boy.  Oh, boy.  I had a chance before that came out.”

GUMBEL: “And after that?”

JACKSON: “Was tough.  Was uphill for two years.”

GUMBEL :“You've gotta admit, Thurman's quote was pretty good.”

JACKSON: “Was one of the best I've heard.”

GUMBEL: “They went to Thurman and they said, ‘Reggie says he was misquoted.’  And Thurman said?”

JACKSON: "‘For 3,000 freakin' words?’ It was good.”

Here is Jackson on his relationship with manager Billy Martin:

JACKSON: “He was an effort for me.”

GUMBEL: ‘You think you were an effort for him?”

JACKSON: “Yes.  Absolutely.”

GUMBEL: “The degree of antipathy, animosity, pettiness, ugliness. It was downright personal.”

JACKSON: “After the Boston incident, things got personal for me.”

Here is Jackson talking about a meeting with GM Gabe Paul and Martin after he and Martin clashed in the Fenway Park dugout in June of 1977:

JACKSON: “Billy was in a state that wasn't good.  There was alcohol on his breath.  I think he was angry enough to wanna have a fight.” 

GUMBEL: “I’m reading now: ‘Right away Billy's furious.  He stood up and looked at me and he said, quote, 'Get up, boy.  I'm gonna kick the --- outta you.'   I turned to Gabe and I said, 'You heard it.  You heard him call me boy. How do you think I feel when he says that to me?'  Do you think Billy meant it as you interpreted it?”

JACKSON: “Yes, I do.”

GUMBEL: “It wasn't an accident.  And it wasn't just—“

JACKSON: “No, No.”

GUMBEL: “A slip of the tongue.”

JACKSON: “No, no, no, no. You don't slip of the tongue with that.”

Here is Jackson talking about Martin's retired number in Monument Park:

GUMBEL: “Am I the only one who thinks it ironic that, on the wall that has all the retired Yankee numbers..”

JACKSON: “I'm right next to him.”

GUMBEL: “You're right next to Billy”

JACKSON: “I know. I'd like to maybe change the location, the geography—“

GUMBEL: “Move to a different neighborhood?”

JACKSON: “Different neighborhood. But it's okay. I'm proud to be there.”

Here is Jackson on being enshrined among the Yankees greats depite his relatively short time in pinstripes:

JACKSON: “My arrogance or my stubbornness weren't supposed to be. I wasn't supposed to have an opinion.  I was supposed to be glad to be there. I didn't thank everyone for being on the Yankees.”

GUMBEL: “You felt you'd earned it.”

JACKSON: “I felt I earned it.  At the time for someone to come along as I did and speak my mind whenever I cared to speak out-- was unusual.  It was different.”

GUMBEL: “But it's more than that, Reg. You were a guy who was brash, who, with justification thought a lot of his ability I suspect that for a lotta people-- what they railed against was that attitude more than race. Is that fair?”

JACKSON: “Wearing a big hat or driving a Rolls Royce—[if that] is an expression of arrogance-- I would take offense to that.  Clyde Frazier drove a Rolls and wore a big hat and had a good time.”

GUMBEL: “And wore fur coats.”

JACKSON: “And wore fur coats. And they thought he was cool.  But I was arrogant.  I didn't want to take-- unnecessary abuse from the man.  And so ‘the man,’ for you and I would be white.”

Tags: HBO , ESPN , Yankees , reggie jackson

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