“The racism that I faced here, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody” - Legendary All-Star Reggie Jackson shares painful memories during MLB career

MLB: Hall of Fame-Parade of Legends
Legendary All-Star Reggie Jackson shares painful memories during MLB career

Baseball in America during its early days was not as inclusive as it is today. Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson shared his pain while he was in the FOX Sports booth with Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and David Ortiz on the occasion of the Negro League Tribute Game on Thursday.

When Rodriguez asked Jackson how he felt returning to the former home of the Negro League’s Birmingham Black Barons, the 14-time All-Star shared about the discrimination he faced as a black player at the time.

“Coming back here is not easy,” Jackson told Rodriguez. “The racism that I faced here when I played here, the difficulty of going through different places where we traveled.
"I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. … I would never want to do it again. I walked into restaurants and they would point at me and say, ‘the n—-r can’t eat here.’ I would walk into a hotel and they would say, ‘the n—-r can’t stay here.'”

The MLB celebrated black players at one of the oldest ballparks, Alabama's Rickwood Field for the Negro League Tribute Game, played between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Reggie Jackson credits former manager John McNamara and teammates for the support

While detailing the harrowing experience he had as a black player, Reggie Jackson credited his former manager, John McNamara, and shared one experience where the coach had his back.

"Fortunately, I had a manager, Johnny McNamara, who said if I couldn't eat in the place, nobody would eat. We'd get food to travel. If I couldn't stay in a hotel, they'd drive to the next hotel and find a place where I could stay," Jackson said.

He also thanked Rollie Fingers, Dave Duncan and Joe Rudi for supporting him in his early days in the league.

"Had it not been for Rollie Fingers, Johnny McNamara, Dave Duncan and Joe Rudi," Jackson said. "I slept on their couch three, four nights a week for about a month and a half. Finally, they were threatened that they would burn our apartment complex down unless I got out. I wouldn't wish it on anyone."

In his 21 seasons in the majors (1967–87), Reggie Jackson won five World Series titles and an AL MVP in 1973, on top of 14 All-Star selections. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993. The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics retired his No. 44 and No. 9 jerseys, respectively.

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Edited by Brad Taningco
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