Born May 18, 1946, Reggie Jackson of Pennsylvania belonged to a family of eight with the head of the family working as a tailor. The parents soon separated and Jackson was sent to live with his father.
Distracting himself from the tragedy that he had recently been through, the young individual indulged into different sports. Starring as a running back for the Cheltenham High School football team, Jackson excelled at baseball as a power-hitting first baseman and pitcher. As a senior, he hit .55 on the field and concentrated all of his energies into the game. Once he had set his mind on making a career out of baseball, even the news of his father’s imprisonment did not distract him from his goal.
The ambitious player was awarded a football scholarship to Arizona State University after graduation but baseball continued to inspire him and he returned to the field in his sophomore year during which he batted .327 and set a record for the most number of home runs. His performance impressed many and in the 1966 amateur draft, Jackson was selected by the Kansas City Athletics to play baseball on a professional level.
Even though he began his career playing for the minor leagues, Jackson soon emerged as a regular player for the club and after its move to Oakland in 1968, he turned a new leaf with 29 home runs and various strikeouts.
In his second full season, Jackson set a record with 37 home runs by the All-Star break and led the American League in runs scored. However, his career came to a slow down the following year followed by a plausible comeback in the 1971 All-Star Game with a smashing home run. Jackson also helped the Athletics win the first of five consecutive division titles.
Missing the 1972 World Series due to a hamstring injury, Reggie Jackson returned to the field in 1973 with 32 home runs, 117 RBIs and 99 runs, eventually winning the title of the Most Valuable Player. Contributing towards the playoffs the same year and helping his team beat the New York Mets, the star was named World Series Most Valuable Player for 1973. After winning three World Series titles in a row, the team lost the 1975 playoffs, forcing Jackson to be traded to the Baltimore Orioles where he spent one year before signing a five-year contract with the New York Yankees.
Even though Jackson struggled with the Yankees in the beginning, he eventually adjusted with the new team and led them to win the World Series while being titled the World Series Most Valuable Player himself. Hence, Jackson became the first position player to win the award twice and gained the nickname of ‘Mr. October’ for his postseason performance.
Jackson played his best all-around season as a Yankee in 1980 and retired the following year after a disappointing performance. Playing for the California Angels and the Oakland team through the early 1980s, Jackson finally put an end to his 21-year career in 1987. The former player was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.
After retirement, Jackson worked as a commentator for ABC Sports and his former teams. He also took a shot at acting and appeared in movies such as The Naked Gun and Richie Rich along with television programs like MacGyver.
Serving as a special adviser to the team, Reggie Jackson was awarded a plaque at Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park in 2002. In 2009, he co-authored Sixty-Feet Six-Inches. Four years later, he wrote a book based on his experiences with the Yankees called Becoming Mr. October.