Saturday, May 18, 2013
Today is Reggie Jackson's 67th birthday. He is one of the few major leaguers whose birthday I can rattle off instantly, mostly because he shares it with my brother.
It may seem like I mention Jackson too much on this blog for someone who was such a sworn enemy of Mr. October during my early rooting days. But as I've discussed before, for me, Jackson WAS the '70s. More than peace signs or Saturday Night Fever or Shake Your Groove Thing or gas lines or the Electric Company or Star Wars or Ziggy Stardust.
Reggie Jackson = the '70s.
Jackson represents a time when you could be your own man in a public forum. Sure, he said a lot of stupid stuff and he was an egomaniac whiner. But I admire that he said what was on his mind. In a current athletic atmosphere where every player has his own PR rep, everyone is trained not to say anything, and the few people who do speak candidly get fined or ridiculed until they shut up, Jackson is my hero in this area.
Jackson stirred the drink and thank goodness. In many ways, he did it first, and I am very happy I was there to experience it, even if I was one of the ones berating him for saying something at the time.
I also think that the fact that he also failed in such a public way -- Game 2 of the 1978 World Series, all of those many, many strikeouts -- drew my admiration. Jackson was/is very human. Everyone knew that. He was a good story. I love a good story.
Over the years, I've shown a lot of Jackson cards on this blog. I wanted to show some other random ones from my collection in honor of his birthday. But I didn't want to show a bunch that have been talked about by me or others already.
So, yes, isn't the 1976 Topps Jackson bad-ass? Isn't the 1988 Score Orioles Jackson crazy? Isn't the 1971 Topps Jackson so unmustachioed? But let's travel some slightly different territory.
A few other very common, but less featured Reggies:
1972 Topps In Action: Not the greatest quality photo, but you have to wonder where Jackson is looking in the stands. Who has drawn the attention of the man who draws all the attention?
Also, I love that this card rhymes. Reggie Jackson. In Action. It's practically the cover of a comic book.
1981 Fleer Mr. Baseball: Mr. Baseball? Mr. Baseball? Who called Reggie Jackson Mr. Baseball?
This was our thought when we pulled this card out of those red Fleer packs in 1981. This was several years before Tom Selleck became Mr. Baseball, and I believe that Johnny Carson called Bob Uecker Mr. Baseball when Uecker appeared on the Tonight Show. But Reggie? Never.
Nice try, Fleer. But it's "Mr. October."
1983 Topps Super Veteran: Back in '83, I wasn't a fan of the Super Veteran cards. As a teenager, I didn't really care what the players looked like in their younger days. Black and white? Who wanted old crap like that?
Now, of course, I appreciate cards like this immensely. I study the two photos, presented wonderfully side-by-side, and examine the batting poses. Older Reggie bringing the bat back more than younger Reggie, etc. Good stuff.
1974 Topps All-Star Right Fielders: Out of the nine All-Star cards in the '74 set, this is the only one in which both players own a mustache. Right on.
Reggie tormented the Dodgers in the World Series both here ...
1974 Topps '73 World Series Game 6: So it helps to be reminded that he tormented other teams in the World Series as well. In this game in 1973 against the Mets, Jackson doubled twice, singled and played a part in all three Oakland runs.
1988 Score and 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites: I didn't follow Jackson's career until 1976. I only knew him as a bearded, mustachioed, shades-wearing slugger. To see him like he's presented on these two cards was very bizarre to me for a long time.
I've grown accustomed to it, but that's not Reggie to me.
1983 Topps All-Star: As you might know, I'm not super fond of the separate card for the All-Stars, but I liked these cards quite a bit with the monstrous STAR. Oh, and Reggie is telling you he has balls.
1984 Topps: Reggie Night Card!!!! I need to get an extra for the binder.
1981 Donruss: Donruss didn't feature Reggie Jackson once or even twice in its debut set. It featured him three times on individual cards, crowning him as more important than players like Carew, Garvey and Seaver who were featured just twice.
I have only two of the Reggies. You might be able to note that one card is smaller than the other. That's that quality '81 Donruss workmanship you're looking at, bud.
1990 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes: Upper Deck wasn't around for Jackson's career, so they made sure to make up for lost time by issuing loads of Jackson cards during the 1990s. I suppose this is a fitting closing to the post. A nice salute to the player who many consider the definition of what's wrong with the modern athlete.
But I still can't stop posting about him.
In fact, one more card.
I got it from Nick at Dime Boxes recently:
2001 Upper Deck '70s Decade Disco Dandies: Yeah, I know it's Reggie in the '80s, but it's still a great card.