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Reggie Jackson (True) Rookie Cards

With the 2nd overall pick in the 1st Round of the 1966 MLB June Amateur Draft, the Kansas City Athletics selected Reggie Jackson from Arizona State University. He has one official rookie card.

My Earliest Baseball Memory of Reggie Jackson

In the fall of 1977, I was almost 7 years old. My father, an avid baseball fan, was always sure to catch the postseason on television. I remember it like yesterday, the day baseball imprinted my life forever.

It was Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, Yankees vs Dodgers. Reggie Jackson hit three home runs that game. The anticipation mounted in that third at-bat, I recall my mom rooting for him. My dad was laying on the couch commentating after every pitch, and I was on the floor watching the game with them.

Then it happened! The moment. Reggie Jackson smacks his third homer of the day. My mom starts cheering with joy! My dad jumps up from the couch and repeatedly said he did it, he did it! Startled I turned to look at them, then I turned back to look at the television and saw Reggie trotting around the bases, I was awestruck.

This was a pivotal moment in my life, I’ve been a baseball fan ever since, and a Reggie Jackson fans too. I recall not long after the World Series my dad came home with a “Reggie Candy Bar.” I ate the candy bar with such enthusiasm as I pretended to be Reggie at the plate.

Reggie Candy Bar

The Personality of Reggie Jackson

I can’t speak to Reggie’s personality today because life has a way of humbling, teaching, and changing us. What I do know is back in the day he was a real-life super-hero. But don’t cross him.

You see, Reggie appeared to take a page right out of Muhammed Ali’s playbook. If you crossed Reggie he wasn’t going to hesitate, he’d come at you with a flurry of choice words himself.

Reggie Jackson had a huge ego, he knew he was good and he was going to let you know too. Once asked by reporters, “What went through your mind as you were approaching the batter’s box?” Reggie paused for a few seconds and replied, “The magnitude of me, the magnitude of the situation, and the magnitude of the Yankees.”

Some have claimed that he was a complicated person to deal with. Hungry for attention and affection, an insecure loner. But when the camera lights went on, all that went right out the window. He loved the camera and always knew where it was. He was a master of self-promotion.

The Career of Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson played 9 years with the Athletics, 1 year with the Baltimore Orioles, 5 years with the Yankees, and 5 years with the California Angels. He went back to Oakland in his final year in 1987.

His presence in the MLB was immediately felt. As a rookie in 1969, he had 37 home runs at the All-Star break. However, he fizzled out as he finished the season with 47 home runs.

Reggie played in 135 games in 1972, suffered an injury, missed the remainder of the season, and had to watch his team lose in the playoffs. However, in 1973 he came back with a vengeance winning 1973 AL MVP, 1973 World Series MVP, and the 1973 Major League Player of the Year.

1976 was the first year the MLB opted to practice free agency. Which basically empowered the players to sign with whom they wanted, typically, to the highest financial offer. George Steinbrenner, the owner of the New York Yankees, signed Reggie Jackson to a 5 year 3 million dollar contract.

This contract made Reggie the highest-paid baseball player in MLB history. Obviously, this brought resentment from teammates who were already annoyed with his hot-dogging loudmouth tactics.

The Birth of Mr. October

Manager, Billy Martin didn’t care for Reggie much either. By 1977, there was so much tension between them that Team Captain Thurman Munson had to talk to Billy on giving Reggie some slack. Billy Martin agreed and Reggie Jackson stepped up as he hit 32 home runs and 110 RBI’s in only 146 games played.

Then there was that infamous World Series Championship in 1977 which Reggie had 20 at-bats, and hit 5 home runs, 9 hits and 10 runs scored, earning him World Series MVP.

After the game, the media rushed Thurman Munson with questions. In a celebratory atmosphere, Thurman said, “I don’t know, why don’t you ask Mr. October!” The nick-name stuck and Reggie Jackson cemented his legacy.

Jackson Cements Legacy
1977 World Series, Game 6 Reggie Jackson Cements Legacy!

Career Stats & Accomplishments of Mr. October

According to Reggie Jackson career stats are:

Reggie Jackson’s career numbers stack up this way: WAR 74.0 | Home Runs 563 (14th) | Hits 2,584 | RBI’s 1,702 | Runs 1,551

Like most home run hitters in the 70s and 80s, Reggie’s strikeout total is rather high. In fact, he ranks 1st All-Time with 2,597 strikeouts. Overall, he has a .356 On Base Percentage and a .846 On-Base Slugging Percentage.

Accomplishments include:

  • 1x MVP (1973)
  • 14x All-Star
  • 5x World Series Champion
  • 2x World Series MVP
  • 2x Silver Slugger
  • 1x Major League Player of the Year (1973)
  • Hall of Fame Induction 1993

The Bottom Line About Reggie Jackson

If we take a holistic view of the player Reggie Jackson one can conclude this. Despite being rough around the edges, camera hungry, and a loudmouth hot dog… he backed it up. If you’re going to talk the talk you better be able to back it up, and he did just that.

In short, he did great things at great moments and this is why he is an All-Time Great!

1969 Topps, #260 (RC)

Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps #260 (side a)
Reggie Jackson 1969 Topps #260 (side b)

Topps Experiments with the 1969 Set

The 1969 Topps is a unique set and is beloved by many collectors for its uniqueness. You’d probably never pick up on these features if you didn’t have a working knowledge of how Topps operated previously.

For starters, Topps set a record for the number of cards printed in this set, with 664. The previous high was in 1967, with 609 cards. In 1968, they opted to go back down to 598 cards which were the card count in 1965 & 1966. So the biggest set ever became a big deal with collectors.

Another unique feature was in the distribution. The 1969 Topps set was released, Nationally, in 4 Series. One would think that Series 4 is perhaps the most scarce to find. False, in fact, Series 3 which contained cards #219-327 is the most difficult to find.

Lastly, a unique feature that is often missed if you don’t know better can be found in the variations. These can be found in the player’s name or team name inside that circle on the card front. They will commonly feature yellow lettering but the more scarce variation is in the white lettering.

Card prices for the more scarce white letter variation can get pricey, especially for the bigger names like Mickey Mantle.

Reggie Jackson Rookie Card

In the 1960s the majority of rookie cards produced by Topps featured two or three rookie players per card and they were typically indexed by either team or position. Card #260 however, does not. Reggie has his own stand-alone card.

The front card features a photograph with rounded corners, a purple circle of all things which house the player’s name and team. The team name is in bold, all caps lettering towards the bottom of the card which mimics the 1967 set design.

The card back is pinkish in color and offers collectors full career stats, including his time in the minor leagues, player commentary, and bio. The card back also offers my personal favorite, a cartoon with an interesting stat. The punch line of the cartoon actually sounds like something Reggie would say. Lol!

Topps Decal = (RY)

There is one subset in this product that also features Reggie. Topps Decal is a 48 card gimmick set. They were a lot smaller measuring 1″ x 1-1/2.” Reggie was included and it has the same image as his rookie card.

The idea was to place the decal front side down, onto a hard surface of your choice, then scratch the backside of the card with a coin and the decal would transfer to the hard surface. They are delicate in nature and must be handled with extreme care.

Cards featured above can all be identified as Rookie Year Cards (RYC). Top row, left to right we have: 1969 Jack in the Box, 1969 Milton Bradley, 1969 Oakland A’s Broder. Bottom row: 1969 Oakland A’s Picture Pack, and 1969 Topps Super.

Although released in 1969 which was Reggie’s “rookie year” they did not allow fair and equal distribution for collectors. Here we have regional, food and beverage, board games, and subset cards which disqualify them as “TRUE” rookie cards. Therefore, an RYC identifier fits these nicely.

1970 Topps, #140 (PRT)

Reggie Jackson 1970 Topps #140 (side a)
Reggie Jackson 1970 Topps #140 (side b)

A current trend in the hobby today is 2nd-year cards of blue-chip players like Reggie Jackson. They are an affordable alternative to the rookie card and still captures the player early on in his career. I love the concept and this would be Reggie’s alternate.

Happy Collecting Collectors,

Learn. Collect. Enjoy.