MLB Hall of Famer hits the links for charity
It was 35 years ago that Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in a single game to propel the New York Yankees to their 21st World Series title. A baseball Hall of Famer since 1993, Jackson now uses his charity, the Mr. October Foundation for Kids, to give back to the community. His All-Star Celebrity Classic golf tournament in support of the foundation takes place Nov. 12 at Southern Highlands Golf Club in Las Vegas. Jack Houston spoke with Jackson about his upcoming visit.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the foundation and how it got started.
A: It was real easy for me to see in the tech world that there were very few minorities, African-American and Latin American. … I saw Asian, I saw Indian, but I did not see the two different ethnicities that represent almost 35 percent of the American population. … So that’s what our foundation supports. … We’re able to send junior high school and high school kids to Georgia Tech for a three-week program during the summer … to get African-American and Latin American youths to start to understand the world of technology.
Q: Who can we expect to see out on the course?
A: Roger Clemens, Franco Harris, Barry Sanders. Robin Yount. Jim Palmer has been just wonderful, Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith has always been there, Vida Blue, Dave Stewart. There are some guys that pick up the phone, and if I don’t invite them, they get mad.
Q: What do you remember about Game 6 of the ’77 World Series?
A: I had an unbelievable batting practice. … My good friend (Yankees teammate) Fran Healy said, “Oh my God, anytime you see a guy that has that kind of batting practice, he is going to stink it up during the game.” I guess what I remember is that I was in a tremendous state. … Every time I swung the bat, I hit the ball out of the ballpark.
Q: Who were some of the players that you looked up to?
A: I was raised in an era when minorities were second-class citizens … so you rooted for the Dodgers. They were your favorite team. They had the first African-American player … so I was a Jackie Robinson fan. I was also a big fan of Duke Snider, but I didn’t really tell anybody that he was my favorite, because he was white. (laughs)