Hall of Fame baseball slugger Reggie Jackson unloads on a number of subjects in his new autobiography, which was co-written by Kevin Baker and is scheduled for release by Doubleday on Tuesday.
The biggest topic of controversy surrounds a disparaging remark he made about beloved catcher and Yankees team captain Thurman Munson, and the journalist who quoted Jackson is standing by the quote.
Jackson also discusses in the book, "Reggie Jackson: Becoming Mr. October," his dislike of Manager Billy Martin, his fondness for owner George Steinbrenner and his sense that second baseman Willie Randolph was the only player of color on the team to have his back.
"This team, it all flows from me. I'm the straw that stirs the drink. Maybe I should say me and Munson, but he can only stir it bad," Jackson was quoted by Robert Ward in a June 1977 article in Sport magazine. The quote was in reference to Jackson being the key ingredient to a World Series winner with his penchant for delivering big hits in the playoffs, earning him the nickname "Mr. October."
Jackson wrote in his new book: “It never happened. At least not like [Ward] said it did. The whole time he was trying to feed me that quote, but I know I never said it. There's no way I'd be that dumb to knock the captain of the team — and, by the way, the guy who told George Steinbrenner to go get me on the free-agent market.”
The Associated Press landed an interview with Ward on Friday. He continues to stand by the article and quote.
“He's been lying about it since it happened,” Ward said of Jackson. “He's just lied and lied. And now I think probably he's gotten to the age where he actually believes the stuff he says here. I made nothing up. Not one thing.”
Jackson, who is a special advisor to the Yankees, wrote that he was particularly hurt that nobody wanted to have the locker next to his.
“Most of the black players on our team did not support me, and that hurt,” Jackson said. “Nobody really wanted to locker next to me.”
Jackson finished his storied career with 563 home runs, at the time of his retirement No. 6 on the all-time list behind Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Frank Robinson (586) and Harmon Killebrew (573). He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1993.