Count baseball legend Reggie Jackson among the celebrities who have compiled a classic car collection.
The five-time World Series champion is an avid fan of vintage vehicles, enough to where he kept over 30 cars sitting in a warehouse around the end of his playing career. Unfortunately for Jackson, those cars met a heartbreaking ending.
Reggie Jackson lost 35 cars in a warehouse fire
After over 20 seasons in the major leagues, Reggie Jackson played his final baseball game in October 1987.
A feeling possibly worse than any strikeout hit the baseball legend less than a year later. According to SFGate, a fire destroyed a warehouse in Berkeley, California, on August 4, 1988. Jackson had 35 cars with a reported total value of over $3 million stored in the building.
Among the cars destroyed were Corvettes, Porsches, and what Capt. Ron Littley called other “high-value collector cars.” Littley said five motorcycles had also been destroyed.
SFGate reported that a 1932 Ford five-window coupe, one valued at $70,000, was among the destroyed vehicles. He owned a 1987 Grand National Buick — one of less than 600 in existence — with only 180 miles on the odometer. The Buick and a 1983 Porsche Targa he received after winning the American League home run title in 1983 were both ruined in the fire.
Jackson has always been an avid fan of vintage cars
When Jackson retired following the 1987 season, he already had 97 vehicles in his classic car collection. Many of those cars were kept at another location when the fire occurred.
Jackson began his collection in 1971 when he bought a 1940 Chevrolet for $300 and a color television set. The Chevrolet was among the cars destroyed in that fire.
In a 2018 interview with USA Today, Jackson reflected on being an avid fan of cars as a child in Pennsylvania. He and his friends sat on a front porch and tried to name the car that drove by them.
“Say a Bel Air…or an Impala. And then, if you could catch an insignia on the side of a ’62 and see if it was a 327 (cubic-inch engine) or if it was a 409, you got points for that, too.”Reggie Jackson
The winner, he said, would also get a glass of Kool-Aid.
Jackson has kept working on his classic car collection
At 75 years old, Jackson is a long way removed from hitting home runs in the postseason. He entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993 and is currently a special assistant to Jim Crane, the owner of the Houston Astros.
The baseball legend is also still active in the automotive industry. In addition to collecting cars, Jackson auctioned off 18 cars at Mecum Indy 2018. His cars at the auction included Corvettes and Camaros.
By that point, he’d gathered about 100 classic and collector cars ranging from the 1930s through the 1980s. His collection included early Fords, Mustangs, and Mopars.
Jackson told USA Today that he has a Ferrari worth roughly $15 million, and he intended to sell that down the line. Some cars, however, would never leave his possession.
“There comes a time in life where you’re ready to let just about anything go except for family,” Jackson said. “I guess I have some cars that you could say are family.”