Football Or Baseball?
Reggie Jackson began his college career in 1964 at Arizona State University. He entered the school on a full football scholarship, but soon discovered he didn't like the football regimen and began hanging around with the baseball team. By the end of his sophomore year, he was ranked second in the pro baseball draft and football was merely an afterthought.
The Kansas City (later Oakland) Athletics chose Reggie in the 1967 amateur draft, taking him second overall, and he soon was making his mark in professional baseball. After a few quiet years, Jackson caught the nation's attention by hitting a home run over the roof of Tiger Stadium in the 1971 All-Star Game. He also was in the spotlight because he was on a red hot A's team that dominated the World Series from 1972 to 1974.
Reggie Jackson was fast becoming a household name. Though he sat out the '72 Series, he came back from his hamstring injury and in '73 and '74, began his reign over the fall classic. Free agency allowed Jackson to move to the New York Yankees after the 1974 season, and he was on his way to the media capital of the world. Thus, his rocky relationship with Yankee owner George Steinbrenner would become legendary.
The postseason would be Reggie's stage. In the 1977 World Series, Jackson became the first player to ever hit five home runs in one World Series. He hit three in sixth game alone, setting yet another record by hitting those three off of three consecutive pitches, and off of three different Los Angeles Dodger pitchers. The feat has never been duplicated.
Jackson would earn Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors in the series and become The Big Apple's most popular man. He even had a candy bar, The Reggie! bar, named after him. A great story from the candy bar fiasco is how one day the Yankee promoters gave out a bar to the almost 45,000 fans at a 1978 early season home opener. When Jackson hit a home run in the game, the fans tossed their uneaten Reggie! bars to the field (the candy bars were reportedly not that tasty). White Sox manager Bob Lemon said, "People starving all over the world and 30 billion calories are laying on the field."
Jackson helped lead two teams to five World Championships in only seven years. Writer Mike Lupica, in an article that appeared in Esquire, called Jackson, "The most theatrical baseball player in the last quarter century."