Everyone either remembers or has seen highlights of Reggie Jackson as a New York Yankee. Everyone who knows even a bit of baseball history knows that he came up with the A’s, won an MVP award and three World Series rings in Oakland. Anyone who has seen “The Naked Gun” knows that Mr. October played for the California Angels.
But there are a lot of baseball fans, even some pretty avid ones, who don’t realize that Jackson played for the Baltimore Orioles. It was just one season, 1976, and not even the whole season due to a holdout. But he played there while he bided his time between the late 1975 arbitration ruling ushering in free agency and the first time players could take advantage of it following the 1976 season. Baltimore was a pretty great place to play baseball in the 1970s, but for Jackson, it really was his season in limbo.
Today Dan Epstein — expert of all things 1970s baseball — has an article up over at Vice exploring Reggie Jackson’s weird year with the O’s. The year in which his house burnt down. The year in which he got in a screaming match with Earl Weaver over a necktie. The year in which Dock Ellis hit him square in the face with a fastball for . . . reasons.
No one tells stories of baseball in the 70s like Epstein and no baseball stories of the 1970s are complete without some reference to Reggie Jackson, the decade’s biggest and brightest star. Must reading, for sure.