His performance in the Series did not, he felt, balance out the strife he endured during a season that had him variously at odds with his teammates, his manager and the fans. "No, it's more a relief," he said. He leaned back in his chair as if to demonstrate the point. "I feel almost let down now. I realize that a lot of what happened I brought on myself. When you get so much money, a lot is expected of you. There are too many numbers involved with the Yankees. You take the economic situation in the country, the city being bankrupt, and here we are, the pinstripers, the money men. Little things we did and said became major. To me I'm just another person. It confuses me when people get all hyped up over what I do. There are 800 million people in China who don't give a damn. But I feel happy about what happened. I feel a great strength. I feel good for the people who stuck by me. I feel happy for the kids who can see that I made it back after all those odds against me. It was hard enough earlier. Just think what it would've been like if I hadn't performed."
Jackson took a long pull on his beer. "Sure, I'll be a Yankee next year. I'm a Yankee mainly because of George Steinbrenner. I'll continue to be one because of George Steinbrenner. But I'll say this, if things aren't better next year, I'll quit. No, that's not quite it. I just don't know if I can take it, that's all. But how can things not be better next year?"
Some friends dropped in, notably the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Chicago civil rights activist. Reggie asked them to wait in the dining room while he finished talking about himself. He was going home to his Bay Area condominium in a few days, and he was looking forward to seeing his neighbors again, his old friends, some girls and his cats. This business of his requiring fan adulation is, he snorted, so much nonsense. He likes smaller groups, not adoring crowds.
Reggie left the room to pour some more wine for his other guests. Rev. Jackson stepped into the room. Like Reggie, he is a large, broad-faced, mustachioed man. The two Jacksons look enough alike to be brothers, which they are not.
"Because of his intelligence and his gifts, Reggie's domain is bigger than baseball," said Rev. Jackson. "All the bad pitches to him do not come on the diamond. He is a fascinating man. He has a sense of history, which so many athletes don't have. I think that's why he gets up for the big games. He has a sense of moment. Greatness against the odds is the thing. Anyone can be famous. Just by jumping out of one of these buildings you can be famous. To be great is a dimension of the authentic."
Reggie came back into the room, looking authentic enough. "Hey, you don't have to go now," he said to some guests preparing to leave. "Sit down. Have some wine. We'll talk a while."