RIPLEY - When Rod Parsons of R&R Auto Sales posted his rare 1969 Z-28 Camaro Rally Sport with a JL8 Package (only 206 manufactured) on Ebay, he was hoping to get a buyer.
He got that and much more.
“I got a call and the guy started talking about the car,” said Parsons. “He identified himself as Reggie Jackson, and I said sure you are.”
To Parsons’ surprise, the caller was indeed Major League Baseball’s legendary “Mr. October,” who is also a collector of classic cars.
“A couple of days later, he called back and said he was flying in to Charleston and asked if I could pick him up at the Marriott the next morning for breakfast,” said Parsons. “I did and he came back to Ripley and hung out with us for the whole day. I contact the other two previous owners of the car and they came to the dealership to meet him. He (Jackson) looked at the car and our other cars. It was a real good day. He’s a real good guy.”
Parsons said Mr. October is real knowledgeable about cars and they talked about cars most of the time during his visit to R& R, although they did talk about baseball too.
“He signed things for me and the staff here and for the previous owners of the car and their sons/grandsons they brought with them,” said Parsons. “We took some pictures too.
“I’ve met celebrities before, but I’ve never met a legend. I told him that. It was a privilege for him to come here and spend the day with us. I was so impressed that he would come here and meet everybody. It was his first-ever trip to West Virginia and he made it to Ripley.”
Parsons said Jackson was equally impressed with them and thanked them for their hospitality. “He couldn’t believe how nice and sincere the people of West Virginia are. He’s real true blue guy, not arrogant at all,” Parsons said.
Jackson bought the rare Z28 Camaro from Parsons and is sending a carrier to haul it to Pebble Beach, California. He plans to restore it and add it to his private collection.
Parsons drove Jackson back to the Charleston airport in the afternoon, after a stop at Dairy Queen for a milkshake. “he likes them a special way,” said Parsons, “chocolate ice cream and milk, no syrup.”
While at Dairy Queen, a couple of patrons recognized him and asked for autographs. Parsons said Jackson graciously obliged and posed for a few photos as well.
Page 2 of 2 - “He called me again the other night and we talked for about 15 minutes,” Parsons said.
Reggie Jackson was nicknamed “Mr. October” for his clutch hitting in the postseason with the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees. Jackson won five consecutive American League West divisional pennants, three consecutive American League pennants and two consecutive World Series titles as a member of the Oakland Athletics (he did not play in the 1972 World Series due to injury) from 1971 to 1975; four American League East divisional pennants, three American League pennants and two consecutive World Series titles with the Yankees from 1977 to 1981; and two American League West divisional pennants with the California Angels in 1982 and 1986. He is perhaps best remembered for hitting three consecutive home runs in the clinching game of the 1977 World Series.
Jackson played for the Kansas City / Oakland Athletics (1967–1975, 1987), Baltimore Orioles (1976), New York Yankees (1977–1981), and California Angels (1982–1986). A 14-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, Jackson won two Silver Slugger Awards, the 1973 American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, two World Series MVP Awards, and the 1977 Babe Ruth Award.
Jackson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993. The Athletics and Yankees both retired his uniform number. Jackson currently serves as a special advisor to the Yankees.
Yet for Rod Parsons and staff at R & R Auto sales, the special personal visit, his humanity and his love of cars by legendary Reggie Jackson--Mr. October--will always be just as impressive, even moreso.