Reggie Jackson explains Astros defection, reveals why he left Yankees

Spring Training - New York Mets v Houston Astros - Reggie Jackson
Spring Training - New York Mets v Houston Astros - Reggie Jackson / Mireya Acierto/GettyImages

It's no secret that Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson's Yankees career was fraught; even during his heyday, he managed to fall on the wrong side of firebrand manager Billy Martin repeatedly in conflicts that you'd have to close your eyes completely to ignore the racial components of.

Holding things together and believing in him, though, was George Steinbrenner. It was The Boss who brought Jackson to New York as his first earth-shattering free agent signing. It was The Boss who defended his centerpiece in conflicts with Martin, Thurman Munson and the rest of his boisterous roster.

And it was The Boss who brought Jackson back as an advisor many years later, where they'd eventually watch “Gene Autry cowboy movies” together during the great owner's final days.

When Steinbrenner passed away in 2010, Jackson's link to the top of the organization also faded. In his remaining years with the team, he felt less like a trusted advisor and more like a "hood ornament" (his words).

Hence, the difficult decision to move to the Astros, where he feels he's been far more embraced. Embraced enough to flaunt a Jose Altuve jersey, in fact.

Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson left team because he felt like 'hood ornament'

As Jackson described, he didn't feel heard in the wake of Steinbrenner's death, and had become exactly what he never wanted to be: a figurehead former legend with a usually-unoccupied "office." A player who could be counted on to ring a bell or cut a ribbon, but not to discuss the roster.

"They didn’t want me inside the tent. I’ve got to peer through the glass, stick my nose through the bars, press my face against the window. You say ‘Maybe I should be somewhere else.’ "

Reggie Jackson

Jackson revealed at his recent documentary premiere that he really thought he'd be with the Yankees for life, but made the difficult decision to depart because he no longer felt essential without the older Steinbrenner in charge.

The famed slugger isn't without his insecurities, and also experienced a lack of acceptance during his career as an active Yankees superstar. Still, perhaps this reflects on Hal Steinbrenner's organization, too. The more they can embrace history moving forward, the better -- and not in a "showing 2004 Red Sox highlights" kind of way.