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When Reggie Jackson Met MC Hammer

March 11, 2014

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I’ve been reading Reggie Jackson’s recent memoir, Becoming Mr. October, which is proving to be, well, pretty much what you’d expect. Every dozen pages or so, though, Jackson drops a story that grabs your attention and makes the book worth a read, including his look back on the early career of MC Hammer. I had known that Hammer got his start as a clubhouse kid with the A’s in the 1970s, but until reading Jackson’s account, I had never heard about the future rapper’s other duties with the team. As Jackson has it,

“He was just Stanley Burrell then, a poor young kid growing up in Oakland…Stanley was just eleven years old at the time. I was the one who first gave him the name Hammer, because he looked so much like ‘Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron. Rollie Fingers started calling him Pipeline, because Rollie believed he was a clubhouse snitch for [A’s owner] Charlie Finley. Charlie made him executive vice president, this eleven-year-old kid. He was running around with a hat that read ‘Ex VP.’ You’d see him up in the owner’s suite, watching the game while he was on the phone with Finley, who was back in Chicago or somewhere. Finley would call him on the speakerphone and have Hammer tell him what was going on…Hammer would report back on everything he heard in the clubhouse.”

And here I thought Hammer was too legit to snitch…

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