|Reggie Jackson (L) and Billy Martin (R)|
Here's the more notable quote, where Jackson accuses Martin of racism and anti-Semitism:
"I never had an understanding of Billy Martin. I did not accept the way he managed me. I did not accept the way he managed Ken Holtzman. I thought there was anti-Semitism there".
"I couldn't accept that. I couldn't accept the racial epithets in reference to players like Elliott Maddox or Billy Sample. There are players that played for him that would tell you that (he made racist or anti-Semitic comments about those players). So there was an uneasiness, a knowledge about the person that I was very uncomfortable with... I wasn't his choice and he wanted to show George (Steinbrenner). So that was kind of an oddity, a craziness that I never could follow, and I struggled to have respect for Billy as a person and had it reinforced with the anti-Semitism that I witnessed."
A more detailed account of Jackson's remarks is available at MLB.com. Neither Maddox, Sample (both black), nor Holtzman (Jewish) have ever publicly accused Martin of racism or anti-Semitism, by the way.
Of course, the Daily News wanted to know why this is suddenly an issue now, 22 years after Billy Martin's death. Jackson claims he's not trying to trample on the grave of Billy Martin, but explained "Someone needs to know that this is what happened. I don't hold anybody responsible. I have forgiven, but not forgotten and the minorities of the world have experienced it, not just me. Let this be a reminder that we need to be a little bit better."
Reggie Jackson was a legitimate star; he hit 563 home runs during a career lasting from 1967-1987. However, one of the reasons he played in so many playoff games was because he was surrounded by All-Stars at several stops. With the Oakland A's, he played alongside Sal Bando, Joe Rudi, Catfish Hunter, and Rollie Fingers. With the Yankees, where he sanctimoniously proclaimed himself "the straw that stirred the drink", Jackson was surrounded by Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, Graig Nettles, and Sparky Lyle. And with the Angels, he was buttressed by Bobby Grich, Doug DeCinces, and Brian Downing. This is why he is overrated; he may have been Mr. October, but he had a lot of help. He wasn't the only straw that stirred the drink. And his attitude with the Yankees got under the skin of nearly every one of his teammates; at one point, the only guy in the clubhouse that would talk to him was backup catcher Fran Healy.
Of course, Billy Martin, of mixed Italian and Irish ancestry, was no angel himself. The man was a drinker, and players who liked to drink got along with him better than those who didn't. But Martin first came up as a player under the older ground rules where guys put the team first; his playing career was spend mostly with the Yankees. Billy Martin was great at taking over a team and putting it back into contention the very next year, but would burn out quickly after that. He had a love-hate relationship with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who hired and fired him as manager five separate times.
Comments to the Daily News story indicate Jackson pissed of most people with his latest outburst:
NYYCaptain15 9:30 PM Oct 27, 2011:
This is sad and false. Billy Martin get traded to the Kansas City A's for the Copacabana fight, punching out someone who had made racial slurs towards his teammate Elston Howard. Reggie, you haven't been relevant for 25 years. Get over yourself.
jack54 9:34 PM Oct 27, 2011:
Hey Reggie, your comments serve no purpose but to trample on Billy Martin's grave. Since when are you so F-ing perfect? I was at a game in 1977 and there was a group of white kids who were calling you, in fact, begging you for an autograph before a game. You ignored them but I saw with my own eyes you flew right over to an attractive white female fan and couldn't seem to pull yourself away. So don't be knocking a man who has been dead over twenty years. Billy Martin was more of a true Yankee than you could ever hope for. You should keep your mouth shut as you are far from perfect.
YANKEEFANTOO 1:16 AM Oct 28, 2011:
Reggie still whining! Never liked the guy and never will. Just a full of himself hot dog! How would he know anything about the other players on the team? No one spoke with him - oh wait, Fran Healy did! A roster full of players of all colors and no one spoke to Reggie. HMMMM, wonder why! He better not be knocking the Yankees - they give him a welfare check every month - well, it seems like a welfare check because no one knows what he does to earn it.
RFoster 1:17 AM Oct 28, 2011:
The PC State Religion calls any white person a "racist" who does`nt bow down and grovel at the altar of "Diversity" (codeword for white genocide). The heretics are saying Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.