Jackson returns to Oakland to end career

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Nathaniel Horton

Reggie Jackson, a player very familiar to Oakland Athletics fans, made his return to the Bay Area on Dec., 24, 1986 signing a one year-contract.

For Jackson, it was a return to Oakland after an 11-year hiatus – albeit wearing his now-familiar No. 44 instead of the No. 9 he made famous in his first nine years with the A’s. With more than 250 home runs, five division titles and three world championships while previously at the Athletics, Oakland’s management and fans were hoping to recreate some of the magic of the Swinging A’s of the 1970s.

Jackson spent the first nine years of his 19 year major league career with the A’s (1967- 1975), wearing the No. 9 for most of that time, but when he arrived in 1986 the number was held by Mike Gallego and “he wouldn’t give it up” according to general manager Sandy Alderson.

There’s was no denying that Jackson (better known as “Mr. October” because of his playoff heroics) was getting old – having celebrated his 40th birthday earlier in 1986 – but Reggie expected to bring his productive bat back to Oakland with him.

“I think I’m still a good ballplayer as far as statistical impact and contributing to the team are concerned,” Jackson said upon re-signing with the A’s. “If you’re asking me to put a number on it. It’d probably be somewhere around 70 RBIs, and around 20 home runs.”

Jackson also stressed his off-field importance and leadership. “What I’ll bring to the A’s hopefully is what you feel after you’ve been around a certain type of person. You feel better because you were around that person. I want the fans, the owners, and the other ballplayers to reap a dividend from having me on the ball club,” Jackson said.

Excitement whirled around Oakland- Alameda County Coliseum with the announcement of the return of Jackson. And his excitement to be back in Oakland was very evident as well. “It will be nice to look around the clubhouse, into the stands, up into the mezzanine where the front office sit and feel wanted.”

In what was his final big league season in 1987, Jackson posted a .220 batting average with 15 home runs and 43 RBI. He finished his career with 563 home runs, which was sixth all-time when he announced his retirement.

The owner of 2,584 hits, 1,702 RBI and 18 postseason home runs – including three in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series – Jackson was named to 14 All-Star Games.

He was named on 93.6 percent of the ballots from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 1993, earning Hall of Fame election in his first year on the BBWAA ballot.


Nathaniel Horton was a public relations intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series