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.