Reggie Jackson spent nine seasons with the Athletics and five with the Yankees, winning multiple World Series with both, which made Wednesday night’s American League wild-card game at Yankee Stadium an extra-special experience for him.
“Isn’t that something?” he said as the Yankees took batting practice. “I’ve got my number retired in both places. That’s a cool deal. I really can’t lose tonight.”
Even though he has come to be more closely associated with the Yankees – and works for them as a special adviser – he said he still takes pride in his first major-league employer’s success. “Yes, yes, yes,” he said.
Last month Jackson was honored as a member of the franchise’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.
“The guys behind me were some of the greatest ever,” he said. “Rickey Henderson, I feel, is one of the top 10 or 15 players in history. (Dennis) Eckersley or (Rollie) Fingers, if it’s not Mariano Rivera (as the best relief pitcher), those guys are in the last paragraph.
“Catfish Hunter, Dave Stewart, Charlie Finley . . . It was really cool for me.”
That being said, Jackson did have a rooting interest in the wild-card game, regardless of his affection for Oakland.
“I’m going to be watching the game tonight with (Yankees managing general partner) Hal Steinbrenner,” he said. “Who do you think I’m rooting for? I’m getting paid by them. I’m going to be rooting for the Yankees.”
Last month, Jackson, 72, premiered a weekly Saturday morning show in SiriusXM Satellite Radio called “Swing Away with Reggie Jackson.”
“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said, adding that he has tapped into his vast web of sports connections, in and out of baseball.
“I had Joe Greene on,” he said, referring to the former Steelers defensive lineman. “I wanted to talk about how they are protecting the quarterback and how he would have survived in today’s game.”
Other past or planned guests include Jim Rice, Ozzie Smith, Mike Schmidt, Julius Erving and George Gervin.