On this day, he visits his Nissan and Volkswagen agency. He has called a general meeting of the mechanics and secretaries from the service department. They gather around him, 22 men and three women. He talks about the goal of being the No. 1 service department in northern California, if not all of California. He talks about teamwork and neatness and brake jobs. The mechanics fidget. He is the boss. He says he doesn't want anyone smoking in any of the cars. Smoke in one of the cars and you're fired.
"I'm becoming more involved," he says afterward. "I want this to work. Part of me would like to be involved here every day. The other part says there are other things to do. I don't want to confine myself to one thing. Maybe that's the attention span of the athlete. I want diversity."
He complains to the manager of the agency that the sign in front is not large enough. The Reggie Jackson sign. He congratulates the manager on the fact that the plate-glass windows are much cleaner than they were on his last visit. He rubs a finger across some dust on a used car's hood. The cars should be cleaner. In the showroom, he congratulates a customer on the purchase of a new Cabriolet. In the parking lot, he makes another call from the cellular phone. The cellular phone is with him wherever he goes.
"In 1976, I wasn't thinking about any of this," he says. "Realistically, at the age I was, 28, you're living for the day, living for the right now. You're too involved in what you're doing. No one foresaw what was coming in salaries. Not the players. Not the management. I always had thought I'd be an Oakland A for my whole career, that I'd end like Al Kaline or Brooks Robinson. That just isn't going to happen anymore. It's sad, bad for baseball, but it's the truth.
"I do know that going to New York was what made me. That's where it took off. I say now that, as much as I wanted to stay an A, I should have died a Yankee. Just played a final game and died right there. I guess I'm just being romantic. I always thought I was the perfect Yankee. Too big for his britches. Someone people really could hate. I'm probably still too big for my britches."
He laughs at the image. Dead in the on-deck circle at Yankee Stadium after one final wave as the fans cheer him and boo him at the same time. He says he'll probably work at his present pace until his 50's, then relax. Who knows?
"I'm just going to keep going, keeping my face out there," he says. " Reggie Jackson, famous guy. Just talking to this magazine is helping me. Do you know how much it costs for a full-page ad in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED? This is business. Talking to you."
In walking through the auto showroom, he has picked up a pink balloon that is filled with helium. He stands in the parking lot and releases the balloon. Up and up it goes, into the blue afternoon sky. He stares. The balloon has become a little spot. Up and up. Smaller and smaller.
"Look at it go," Reggie Jackson says. "That thing is really moving."
The balloon disappears. He goes back to work.