"Nah," Reggie says. "If Willie Mays had called, I would have called him back."
Business is business. Reggie never has been slow to do business, even when he was wearing a shirt with number 44 on the back. He always has been a business machine. He is a business machine now. What is it that he calls himself? A cash cow. He is a cash cow, and now there are no fences. He can roam wherever he wants and travel at the speed he wants. The speed is predictably fast.
He has been to Atlanta and Rochester and Miami and Charlotte and Philadelphia and Newport Beach in the past two weeks. He is going to Daytona for the weekend. He will be in Palm Springs to start the new week. What does he say? He is in the rat race. A cash cow in the rat race. He talks about accruing assets and accruing debts and needing a cash flow. Make that money move. He is moving it. There are houses in Berkeley and Newport Beach and Carmel and Aspen. There is the car agency. There are 12 warehouses. There are...cars.
He estimates there are more than 100 of them in one of his warehouses, classic cars, rare cars. They are kept, most of them, in plastic bags, looking as if they just came back from the cleaners. See this one? The red Ferrari? This is worth $600,000. See that white '69 Chevelle? $200,000. The cars in this one warehouse are worth more than $7 million. That is his estimate. The cars are like baseball cards, tradable and easy to convert into cash. Accrued assets.
"We're coming out with this," he says. He holds a bottle in front of him. The label says the product is called Reggie Wax.
"Two years being developed," he says. "We're trying to raise five or six million right now to fund it."
Of all the '76 free agents, he was the most celebrated. He received the most money: $3 million for five years from the Yankees. He was the most successful after signing, finishing the 1977 season with his three-homer night against the Dodgers in the World Series. He made as much money off the field as he made on the field. He was personality as much as player. He was an endorsement package. More than anyone else, he was a look into the financial future.
"I could be set for life, sure," he says. "If I sold off the cars, sold a couple of houses, got rid of everything, I'd never have to work another day. But do you know how that would be? Borrrrring."
Business is as much a game as baseball ever was. He was stung when his Chevy dealership went bust in Berkeley. He was distressed when a warehouse fire wiped out 34 of his investment cars and six motorcycles a year ago. These were some bad times in the business game. That doesn't mean that he doesn't want to play anymore. He wants to play harder.