clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ASU's 50 Best Professional Athletes No. 1: Baseball's Reggie Jackson

Our summer countdown of ASU's top professional athletes has come to an end, as we honor "Mr. October."

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

On a program colloquially known as "MLB U.," Reggie Jackson is the gold standard for any aspiring big leaguer passing through Arizona State.

Perhaps baseball's most clutch player ever, "Mr. October" followed a solid two-year stint with the Arizona State Sun Devils into a legendary 21-season career, shining on the biggest stages on the biggest markets.

Originally accepting a scholarship from legendary ASU coach Frank Kush to play football, the left-handed Jackson walked on to Bobby Winkles' baseball program as an outfielder — largely due to a five-dollar bet with a friend — and made the full-time switch following his freshman year.

Jackson immediately shined in his sophomore year in 1966, hitting 15 home runs (still stands as an ASU record for most in a season with a wood bat) and was named Sporting News' National Player of the Year.

As the No. 2 overall pick in the 1966 MLB draft, Jackson emerged in the pro ranks with the Kansas City Athletics almost instantly, debuting in 1967 and made his first of 14 All-Star appearances in 1969, the Athletics' first year in Oakland. Jackson then helped the A's win three consecutive World Series titles from 1972-72, earning both AL MVP and World Series honors in 1973.

Jackson continued his stellar career with the New York Yankees after signing a five-year, $2.96 million contract and immediately won two World Series championships. His "Mr. October" derived from the 1977 World Series when he hit three home runs in Game 6, the most in any World Series game in MLB history.

Jackson went on to play five seasons with the California Angels from 1982-86 and played one last season with Oakland in 1987.

He finished his career as a five-time World Series champion with two World Series MVPs, and was a four-time AL leader in home runs. His 563 career homers are 14th-most in MLB history,

Jackson was later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993, just six years after retiring. His No. 9 and No. 44 were retired by the Athletics and Yankees, respectively.

Thank you for following along our countdown of ASU's 50 best professional athletes.