Mets Failed To Draft Reggie Jackson Because Of Racism
A New York Post article details an excerpt from Reggie Jackson's new tell-all book, Becoming Mr. October, in which Jackson recounts the story of the 1966 draft. From Larry Getlen's Post piece:
According to Jackson’s new tell-all, “Becoming Mr. October” (Doubleday), in which he details feuds and resentments toward his old Yankee teammates, the New York media and especially his old manager Billy Martin, the only reason he did not become a Met was because his girlfriend, Juanita Campos, was Hispanic.
Jackson recalls how his coach at Arizona State, Bobby Winkles, broke the bad news.
“A day or two before the draft, Bobby Winkles sat me down and told me, ‘You’re probably not gonna be the No. 1 pick. You’re dating a Mexican girl, and the Mets think you will be a problem,’ ” Jackson writes. “ ‘They think you’ll be a social problem because you are dating out of your race.’ ”
Well, at least Met ineptitude is not just recent. That would be upsetting.
The Mets missed out on an all time great because of fears of interracial dating. While I understand that the civil rights movement still had a long way to go in 1966, one would imagine that the dismal Mets would have had the foresight to look past this during a draft. Jackson, obviously, went on to become an all time great player, doing so for the Athletics, Orioles, Yankees, Angels... and not the Mets. Now, no reason to be too bitter, as the Mets won the World Series just three years later. They took catcher Steve Chilcott in Jackson's place, who went on to do nothing. After dislocating his shoulder in minor league ball, he was plagued by injury and never progressed past Triple-A ball.