On October 1, 1987, Reggie Jackson played his last game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with the A’s. The next day, the AP reported the story like this:
Reggie Jackson bowed out in style at the Oakland Coliseum yesterday.
“There a few ballplayers whom I have found were a privilege to manage. Reggie Jackson was one of those players. To me, that says it all because there is no higher compliment,” California Angel Manager Gene Mauch said after Jackson made his last appearance at the Coliseum yesterday.
Jackson singled in a pinch-hitting role to start a two-run rally against the Cleveland Indians, then announced after the game, “That was probably my last at-bat.”
His final hit came against ex-Mariner Ed Vande Berg.
The Athletics will finish out their season with a three-game series at Chicago.
It was a premature statement by Reggie though. His last game was on October 4 in Chicago, playing the full game at DH. The next day, the Los Angeles Times summarized:
“Reggie Jackson of the A’s had two hits in the final game of his 21-year career, including a broken-bat single in the eighth in his last at-bat, but the White Sox won at Chicago to finish the season with 17 victories in their last 21 games.”
The L.A. Times added: “Among the spectators in Chicago to watch Reggie Jackson play his last game for the Oakland A’s was former owner Charlie Finley, who signed Jackson to an A’s contract in 1966.
On the morning of the game, Jackson had breakfast with Finley, who owns an insurance business in Chicago.
“He forgot his wallet,” Jackson said. “I bought breakfast.”
On the day of Reggie’s last game in Oakland, the newswires also had news of what may be the last triple steal in big league history:
HOUSTON – Atlanta completed a bases-loaded triple steal in the fourth inning of their game against Houston last night.
With Jeff Blauser on first, Ken Oberkfell on second and Gerald Perry on third, Houston catcher Ronn Reynolds threw the ball back to pitcher Danny Darwin just as Perry broke for the plate.
Darwin threw the ball back to Reynolds, but the catcher dropped the ball and was injured on the play as Perry slid home safely.
Reynolds had to leave the game with a bruised and lacerated right hand and his replacement, Troy Afenir, allowed Oberkfell to score on a passed ball.
And in commemoration of Reggie in 1987, here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on his steal of home on April 18:
The chance of an Oakland A’s victory was starting to seem as remote as the possibility that 40-year-old Reggie Jackson would steal home.
Ah, but wasn’t that Reggie bowling over Seattle catcher Bob Kearney in the eighth inning Saturday night?
And wasn’t that a 7-5 A’s victory over the Seattle Mariners ?
Yes and yes. And no, don’t expect Reggie’s theft to become a daily ritual.
“The next time I steal home, it’ll be in a beer league,’’ said Jackson, who last stole home in the 1972 American League Championship Series against Detroit.
The A’s thought they had it in the eighth when Jose Canseco, who was at first, and Jackson, who was at third, perfectly executed a delayed double steal to break a 3-3 tie.
Canseco, who had just driven in the tying run with a broken-bat single to right off loser Mike Moore, 0-2, took off for second on the first pitch to Dwayne Murphy and stopped halfway.
Kearney threw to second to try to get Canseco. By the time Mariners shortstop Rey Quinones figured out what was happening, Jackson scored.
“I wanted to slide,‘’ Jackson said, “but Kearney was blocking the plate because I was safe, easy. If I slid, I couldn’t have gotten there. So I had to go for the Jim Brown act.
“It wouldn’t have worked if Alfredo Griffin was on third base. But they said the hell with the old man — he ain’t running.’’
Old man? Joked La Russa: “We figured we get Reggie into the Guinness Book of World Records: Oldest guy to steal home.’’