Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson’s tell-all autobiography accuses the Mets of racism

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Reggie Jackson has an auto-biography coming out and, based on this New York Post capsule of it, it’s gonna be a barn-burner. Even if most of the stories in it have made the rounds before, you have to figure that Jackson’s profoundly Jackson-centric view of most things in the world will make for good reading.

One story the Post mentions is one I had heard once or twice before, but can’t remember where. It’s about how the Mets didn’t draft him with the top pick in 1966 despite the fact that he was far and away the best prospect. Why? Jackson says it was racism. he said his college coach, Bobby Winkles, told him so:

“A day or two before the draft, Bobby Winkles sat me down and told me, ‘You’re probably not gonna be the No. 1 pick. You’re dating a Mexican girl, and the Mets think you will be a problem,’ ” Jackson writes. “ ‘They think you’ll be a social problem because you are dating out of your race … you’re colored, and they don’t want that,” Winkles said.

The Mets took Steve Chilcott. Alas.

Of course with anything connected to Jackson, you can’t be sure how much of it is truth and how much of it is what Jackson has convinced himself is truth. Like, I have no doubt that the Mets were aware that Jackson was good, but whether they stayed away for the reasons Jackson said or other reasons — like, maybe Jackson’s marked amount of, um, self-confidence didn’t jibe with the mid-60s baseball sensibility — is probably up for debate.

Same with the other stories, many of which the Post capsule details and which make for good reading even if you don’t plan on getting the book. Was Billy Martin a pain in the butt? I’m sure of it. Was Jackson an innocent victim and impartial chronicler of Martin’s actions? Uh, guessing not. Jackson was a great, great player. He’s also, by most accounts, a tremendous pain the hiney.

Which means that you know this book is gonna be fun to read.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.