June 22, 2021

The Baseball 100: No. 59, Reggie Jackson (The Athletic)

Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, Joe Posnanski will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy. 

On Sept. 5, 1970 — in the midst of his most nightmarish baseball season — Reggie Jackson stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter. It was a gorgeous afternoon, a Saturday day game in Oakland, and it was Fan Appreciation Day on top of that. But it hardly felt like an event. Fewer than 10,000 people had shown up. And Reggie was deeply unhappy.

He has established himself as a superstar in 1969. For much of the season, he seemed on pace to become an instant legend. He had 37 home runs at the All-Star Break and was ahead of the Roger Maris’ (and Babe Ruth’s) record pace. In 58 games from April 24 to July 2, he hit .324/.444/.852 with 31 home runs. It was unheard of…

Read “The Baseball 100: No. 59, Reggie Jackson” at The Athletic