Star baseball player Reginald Martinez Jackson was born on May 18, 1946 in Wyncote, Pennsylvania to Martinez Jackson and Clara Jackson. Young Reggie Jackson was raised by his father, a former Negro League baseball player, after his parents’ divorce when he was six.
Jackson attended Cheltenham Township High School near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was an all sport athlete, excelling in football, baseball, and track. Jackson then attended Arizona State University (ASU) for his college career where he received a football scholarship. However, after one year of football, he switched to baseball. While at ASU, Jackson met his wife, Jannie Campos. The two later divorced. Jackson became a star player at ASU and soon attracted the attention of professional baseball scouts. He had spent two years at ASU when the 20 year-old Jackson was named the second pick in the 1966 Major League Baseball Draft. He signed with the Kansas City Athletics.
Jackson’s Major League Baseball career began on June 9, 1967 with the Kansas City Athletics. The next year, the organization moved to Oakland, California and became the Oakland Athletics (A’s). Jackson played nine seasons with the Oakland A’s from 1967 to 1975. While with the A’s, Jackson broke single season home run records, made six All-Star appearances (1969, 1971-1975), and helped his team win three consecutive World Series Titles (1972-1974). He also won the American League MVP award (1973), and the World Series MVP award (1973).
After nine seasons with the A’s, Jackson had become one of the most decorated players in baseball. However, after the 1975 season, Jackson and the A’s ownership disagreed on his salary. He became a free agent and signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 1976 and one year later with the New York Yankees.
With the Yankees, Reggie Jackson set more records and amassed more honors. Playing with the Yankees for five seasons (1977-1981), Jackson made five consecutive All-Star appearances (1977-1981), won the Silver Slugger Award (1980), and helped his team win two consecutive World Series Titles (1977-1978). He also won the World Series MVP award (1977), and the Babe Ruth award (1977). In 1977, Jackson earned the nickname “Mr. October” for hitting three home runs in game six of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jackson finished his baseball career playing five years with the California Angels (1982-1986) and returning to his first team for a single year, the Oakland Athletics (1987). Jackson’s final game was on October 4, 1987. Jackson played 21 seasons with four different teams, reaching the post-season in 11 of those seasons. Jackson hit 563 home runs throughout his MLB career.
Reggie Jackson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993 on the first ballot with 93.6% of the votes. Jackson’s jersey was also retired by two Major League Baseball teams, the New York Yankees in 1993 and the Oakland Athletics in 2004. Only three other players in the history of Major League Baseball have been similarly honored.