NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Reggie Jackson is still the straw that stirs controversy.
The Hall of Famer alleges in his new book, “Becoming Mr. October,” that he wasn’t selected No. 1 overall in the 1966 draft because the Mets thought he’d be a “social problem” due to his relationship with a Mexican woman, according to the New York Post.
“A day or two before the draft, (Arizona State coach) Bobby Winkles sat me down and told me, ‘You’re probably not gonna be the No. 1 pick. You’re dating a Mexican girl, and the Mets think you will be a problem,’ ” Jackson wrote, according to the New York Post. “ ‘They think you’ll be a social problem because you are dating out of your race.’ ”
The paper called the book a “score-settling lament” by Jackson, who has Puerto Rican roots.
“No, you’re colored, and they don’t want that,” Winkles told Jackson, according to the Post.
The five-time World Series champion went on to hit 563 home runs in a Hall-of-Fame career. The Mets passed on him for catcher Steve Chilcott, whose injuries kept him from ever making it to the majors.
Jackson, who of course wrote about the Yankees and former manager Billy Martin, admitted he still wonders what could have been had he been drafted by the Amazin’s.
“I think about that sometimes,” he told the Post. “I would’ve been coming up just as that team was finally improving. They had all those great arms: Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Nolan Ryan, Tug McGraw. Oh boy!”
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