Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mr. October

This past week's Major League Baseball All-Star game and the appearance of Hall of Famers got me thinking about Reggie Jackson.
The year was 1980. I was the News Director at WILK-AM Wilkes-Barre. A story broke that while cleaning up a rental car, an employee of a Scranton company found New York Yankee Reggie Jackson's World Series Ring. That's a big story since Jackson's ring was taken in a burglary of his Oakland, California area home a few years earlier.
The News and Sports Departments decided to track down Jackson for comment. The Yankees were in Arlington, Texas playing the Rangers. Using a Media Director furnished by the Yanks, we discovered the name of the hotel where the Yankees were staying and called. The desk clerk, without hesitation or question immediately put us through to Jackson's room.
The phone rang three times before a groggy voice at the other end said, "Hello."
"Reggie Jackson, please."
A pause.
"He just went to breakfast. Call back in half an hour."
Thirty minutes passed and the second call was made.
"Reggie Jackson, please."
"Is this the same guy who called earlier."
"Hey man that was me who answered the phone. I wasn't at breakfast. Sorry."
Here I was talking to Mr. October.
I proceeded to tell him his World Series ring had been recovered. He gave us a long and gracious interview and apologized again for not identifying himself on the first call. He was as polite and courteous as he could be.
As it turned out, the ring that was recovered was not Reggie's ring but a duplicate used by a salesman for the company that had designed and manufactured the ring.
It was a sample.
I'm sure Jackson hardly remembers the calls or the story.
I remember.
The player who was reputed to be so surly and difficult could not have been more of a gentleman.
Ever since, I've paid careful attention to Jackson during interviews. He comes off as one of the nicest guys in the world.
He is.

1 comment:

David Yonki said...

Your Reggie Jackson story was wonderful. He is given a bad rap in many quarters. In the 80s a friend of mine wanted to get some Jackson signed photos at a card show but there was a limit. So my mom and sister gamely stood in line to have Reggie autograpgh the photos. Now my mom knew Reggie from no one and when he asked if she wanted it personalized with his name, my mother said sure. She must've looked confused because Reggie said, "do you know my name?" And my mother without missing a beat says, "Do I have to tell you your own name, are you that tired?" He nearly collapsed laughing and gave my mom a hug. On the way home from King of Prussia my mom in the backseat of the car said, "who was that guy again?"
BTW, feel free to grab anything off my site. Thanks for the kind words and the contributions you make to the blogging community.