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"We have a serious problem that isn't going away"
Reggie Jackson
May 11, 1987
Reggie Jackson came to the Kansas City Athletics from Birmingham 20 years ago. Some 570 home runs later, he is back with the Athletics for what he tells SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will be his final season. Jackson doesn't want to go out with the fanfare accorded such other notable retirees as Johnny Bench or Julius Erving. "All I want," he says, "is a wave in a couple of parks, a picture of Fenway signed by Mrs. Yawkey, tapes of Sherm Feller in Boston and Bob Sheppard in New York announcing my name and some memento of Yankee Stadium. That's all."
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May 11, 1987

"we Have A Serious Problem That Isn't Going Away"

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If I get the opportunity, I'll bring in some qualified people. I don't want to go in and start firing people. Jobs will open in time. One of the things Gene Mauch and Sparky Anderson have explained to me is that people tend to hire people they're comfortable with, people they've hung out with. As a black in the front office, I would hire qualified people whom I have known, and I've known as many blacks as I've known whites. I'd want a Bob Gibson on my staff. I'd want Tommie Reynolds. I'd want Catfish Hunter, Joe Morgan, Rick Burleson, Elrod Hendricks, Bob Watson, Joe Rudi, Felipe Alou, Jim Lefebvre, Dave Winfield, Jerry Narron, Bob Boone, Alfredo Griffin. Don Baylor could manage for me in a Minnesota minute. The number one qualification for on-field personnel is being a good citizen. And all the guys I've mentioned are outstanding citizens.

I used to sit and wonder what happened to so many qualified people who vanished from baseball. Where's Gates Brown now? Where's Earl Wilson? Where's Billy Bruton? Where's Gene Baker? Where's Al Jackson? Where's Tommy Harper? Where's Donn Clendenon? Where's Jimmy Wynn? Where's Tommy Davis? Where's Bob Veale? Where's Rod Carew? Where's Paul Blair? Where's Ed Charles? Where's Chris Chambliss? Where's John Roseboro? Where's Luis Tiant? Where's Al Cowens? Where's Larry Hisle, the nicest guy in the world? Where's Bob Gibson? For goodness sake, Bob Gibson! I hear people say that George Scott doesn't speak well. Well, I've heard general managers who didn't speak all that well.

I want to stay in the game and help answer those questions for the next generation. I don't want anybody asking, "Where's Reggie Jackson?" My friend and business manager Gary Walker once asked me, "What are you going to give your fellow man? God's going to want to know what you did for humanity." This is one way I can show the man upstairs that I give a damn.

I've worked hard, I've been a good citizen, and I've had a great career. I still get a lot of enjoyment out of the game. Baseball means a lot to me. I don't want anyone running down the game to me, because baseball is special. But it's not perfect, and it hasn't been entirely fair to the black man.

Because of the unfortunate things Mr. Campanis said, the time has come to break down the wall between whites and blacks. The time has come to say we have a problem and to address it. Together.

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