Reggie Jackson enters Hall of Fame

By FRED McMANE UPI Sports Editor

NEW YORK -- Reggie Jackson, a swaggering slugger who towered over his peers with an uncanny ability to deliver in the clutch, stood above the rest again Tuesday as the only electee to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He received 93.6 percent of the votes from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America -- the 10th highest percentage ever achieved. He is the 29th player to make the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.


Jackson was named on 396 of the 423 ballots to easily surpass the 75 percent necessary for election. Knuckleball pitcher Phil Niekro, also in his first year of eligibility, missed by 40 votes. He needed 318 votes and received 278.

First basemen Orlando Cepeda (252 votes), Tony Perez (233) and Steve Garvey (176) rounded out the top five vote-getters.

Voting members of the BBWAA were allowed to name as many as 10 players on their ballots with equal weight given to all names. However, any blank ballots submitted were included in the final count.

Jackson was one of the game's most feared long-ball hitters. He hit 563 homers (sixth on the all-time list) in a 21-year career with four clubs, but his best years came with the Oakland Athletics (1968-75) and New York Yankees (1977-81).


A proud athlete, who would barrel into second base to break up a double play or stand at the plate admiring his home runs, Jackson once boasted he was the 'straw that stirs the drink' during his tempestuous days with the Yankees. While the claim rankled teammates, Jackson delivered. His postseason exploits with the Athletics and Yankees earned him the nickname 'Mr. October.' He was a .262 lifetime batter but hit .357 in 27 World Series games.

Jackson played on 11 divison winners with Oakland, New York and the California Angels and in five World Series, four of which his team won. He also was a member of the 1972 championship team at Oakland but missed the Series that year because of an injury.

His most memorable performance came Oct. 18, 1977, when he hit three homers in a World Series game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Overall, he hit 10 World Series homers in just 98 at-bats.

A 14-time All-Star, Jackson hit 20 or more homers an American League record-tying 16 times. He led the league in home runs four times, was first in slugging percentage three times and led in runs scored twice. He holds AL Championship Series records for most series (11), doubles (7), hits (37), singles (24), RBI (20) and walks (17).


Jackson led the AL in homers twice with Oakland, once with the Yankees and once with the Angels. He also played one year with the Baltimore Orioles. Jackson's career high was 47 homers in 1969.

Niekro is one of only 19 pitchers to win 300 or more games. He compiled a record of 318-274 over a 23-year career and won 20 or more games in a season three times.

Cepeda played 17 seasons, batted over .300 nine times and drove in more than 100 runs five times. He hit 379 career homers, compiled a .297 lifetime average and was named to the All-Star team 11 times.

Perez played 23 years, drove in 100 or more runs seven times and compiled 1,652 RBI. He was named to seven All-Star teams and had a .279 lifetime average.

Garvey, on the ballot for the first time, was a model of durability and consistency during his 17 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. He had 190 hits or more in a season seven times, played in all of his team's games in eight seasons and was an excellent first baseman. He had a lifetime average of .294 and, like Jackson, thrived during postseason. Garvey hit .356 in 22 playoff games and .319 in 28 World Series games.


Jackson will attend a news conference Wednesday in New York. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., on Aug. 1.

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