Reggie Jackson heard Billy Martin use racial and anti-Semitic remarks then, and felt it was time to talk about them now.
“You need to set the record straight,” the Hall of Fame slugger told The Associated Press on Friday. “They’re the truth.”
The late Martin, who died in a car crash on Christmas Day in 1989, managed the New York Yankees in the late 1970s, a fiery time that included a pair of World Series championships. Jackson spoke about Martin in an interview with the MLB Network that will be shown Monday night.
“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,” Jackson said in the MLB Network interview.
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“I couldn’t accept the racial epithets in reference to players like Elliott Maddox or Billy Sample,” he said. “There are players that played for him that would tell you that.”
Jackson told the AP that “sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but it’s real and you can’t ignore it.”
“There’s a certain time that when somebody asks you a question, you answer them,” the 65-year-old Jackson said. “I don’t think I said anything with venom. If you can express yourself without anger and make it as palatable as you can, that’s what you do.”
Jackson was asked how often Martin used such language.
“Sometimes,” he said. “It wasn’t all the time.”
Jackson hit three home runs in the clinching Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, earning the nickname “Mr. October.” He starred again in the Series the next year as the Yankees won another title.
The relationship between Jackson and Martin was tumultuous, played out against a backdrop of what became known as “The Bronx Zoo.”
“He was a guy I never got to know really well. Obviously, we didn’t see eye to eye,” said Jackson, who hit 563 home runs in a career from 1967 through 1987.
ANGELS TAB DIPOTO
The Los Angeles Angels picked 43-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks executive Jerry Dipoto to be their general manager, according to a person with knowledge of the hire.
The club will hold a news conference about its GM position today.
Ricky Adams, a utility infielder on the Angels’ 1982 Western Division championship team, died in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., after a long battle with cancer. He was 52. … The Tigers exercised their $9 million option to keep closer Jose Valverde under contract next season. He led the majors with 49 saves in 2011. … Dodgers pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo had arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow in Los Angeles to remove a loose body and scar tissue. … If Boston and Chicago can’t reach agreement by Tuesday on what compensation the Red Sox should receive for allowing general manager Theo Epstein to leave and join the Cubs, the issue goes to commissioner Bud Selig for resolution.