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Reggie Jackson on playing in segregated Birmingham in 1967: 'I wouldn’t wish it on anybody'

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Reggie Jackson on playing in segregated Birmingham in 1967: 'I wouldn’t wish it on anybody'

Reggie Jackson is a member of the Birmingham Barons Hall of Fame.

Before he became a five-time World Series champion and a Hall of Fame player, Jackson led the double-A Southern League with 84 runs, 17 triples, 26 doubles and 17 stolen bases in 1967, his only season with the minor league squad.

But Jackson’s memories of his time in Birmingham, Ala., are anything but pleasant.

“I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” Jackson said numerous times Thursday while speaking on Fox’s pregame show for the first Major League Baseball game to be played at Rickwood Field, the historic former home of the Barons as well as the Negro Leagues’ Black Barons.

The St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 in Thursday’s game, billed as “A Tribute to the Negro Leagues” in honor of all the great Negro Leagues players who played at Rickwood from 1920 to 1960. Willie Mays, the legendary Giants outfielder who died Tuesday at age 93, famously played for the Black Barons in 1948.

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Asked by Fox analyst Alex Rodriguez about the emotions he was feeling in his return to Rickwood, Jackson spoke uninterrupted for nearly three minutes on what it was like to be a Black man in the Deep South in 1967.

“Coming back here is not easy,” said Jackson, who went on to have a 21-year big league career with the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees and Angels. “The racism when I played here, the difficulty of going through different places where we traveled — fortunately, I had a manager and I had players on the team that helped me through it. But I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

“I would never want to do it again. I walked into restaurants and they would point at me and say, ‘The n— can’t eat here.’ I would go to a hotel and they’d say, ‘The n— can’t stay here.’ We went to [Kansas City Athletics owner] Charlie Finley’s country club for a welcome home dinner and they pointed me out with the N-word, ‘He can’t come in here.’ Finley marched the whole team out. … Finally, they let me in there and he said, ‘We’re going to go to the diner and eat hamburgers. We’ll go where we’re wanted.’

“Fortunately, I had a manager in Johnny McNamara that if I couldn’t eat in a place, nobody would eat. We’d get food to travel. If I couldn’t stay in a hotel, they’d drive to a hotel to find a place where I could stay. Had it not been for Rollie Fingers, Johnny McNamara, Dave Duncan, Joe and Sharon Rudi — I slept on their couch three, four nights a week for about a month and a half. Finally, they were threatened that they’d burn our apartment complex down unless I got out. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

Jackson spoke of a dark time in the city’s history, including the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church by white supremacists that killed four Black girls, ages 11 to 14.

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“At the same time,” Jackson said, “had it not been for my white friends, had it not been for a white man in [Finley] and Rudi and Fingers and Duncan and Lee Meyers, I would have never made it. I was too physically violent. I was ready to physically fight [someone]. I’d have gotten killed here because I’d have beat someone’s ass and you’d have saw me in an oak tree somewhere.”

At that point, Rodriguez put his arm around Jackson, while fellow Fox commentator Kevin Burkhardt initially struggled for words in response to what he had just heard.

“Reggie, I — I can’t even imagine,” Burkhardt said. “It’s awful you had to go through that. But, hey, you know, appreciate you sharing the rawness and the honesty of it with our audience.”

“We love you, Reg,” Rodriguez said.

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Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh uses odd birthing analogy to talk about first day of training camp

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Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh uses odd birthing analogy to talk about first day of training camp

The Jim Harbaugh Era has gotten off to an odd start in Los Angeles, as the new Chargers head coach had a weird way of categorizing the first day of training camp. 

Harbaugh, who returns to coach in the NFL after leading Michigan to a national title, spoke with reporters after the first full day of training camp on Wednesday, and he said it felt like “New Year’s Day.”

However, what he followed up with made things a bit awkward.

Jim Harbaugh of the Los Angeles Chargers at the podium before an NFL football practice at Hoag Performance Center on June 13, 2024 in Costa Mesa, California. (Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

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“It feels like being born. It feels like coming out of the womb, you know. It’s like you’re in there and it’s comfortable, it’s safe, and now ‘poof,’ you’re born,” Harbaugh said, via the New York Post. “The lights are on, It’s bright. You got chaos, people looking at you, people talking at you. It just feels good to have it happen.”

Certainly, an odd way to talk about returning to the pros, but Harbaugh’s eccentric characterization of his new Chargers post brings about all the optimism and joy that comes with the new addition to a family. 

Chargers fans rejoiced when Harbaugh signed a five-year contract with the Chargers, and Los Angeles made it worth his while to leave the Wolverines’ program with $16 million per season. 

Harbaugh was linked to the Chargers since Brandon Staley was fired after an absolute beatdown by the Las Vegas Raiders, 63-21, in December. After what he was able to do over nine seasons at Michigan — three Big Ten titles and his national championship last season — fans see this veteran addition at head coach as the perfect fit with a roster that’s still very talented. 

Jim Harbaugh points on field

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh instructs on the field during the first day of training camp at The Bolt. (Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports)

Quarterback Justin Herbert is locked in as the team’s franchise signal caller, and someone that Harbaugh can be creative with given his own quarterback background. But, while he’s building chemistry with his new head coach at camp, Herbert didn’t necessarily think about his first day in the way Harbaugh did. 

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“I’ll leave the analogies to him,” Herbert said, per ESPN. “He’s done a great job at creating those, so I’ll support whatever he says. We’re just out there playing football, and my job is to throw the ball, so that’s what I’m going to worry about.”

Herbert’s job is to throw, but things in Los Angeles may look pretty different with Greg Roman joining Harbaugh as offensive coordinator. Harbaugh’s teams at Michigan have been known to be run-heavy, and Roman reunites with Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins, two running backs he worked with in Baltimore during his time with the Ravens. 

Jim Harbaugh speaks to media

Jim Harbaugh of the Los Angeles Chargers at the podium before an NFL football practice at Hoag Performance Center on June 13, 2024 in Costa Mesa, California. (Ric Tapia/Getty Images)

But no matter if they are running or throwing the ball, the Chargers will take wins either way. That’s the only thing Harbaugh and his squad care about. 

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X, and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.

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Dodgers activate Tyler Glasnow, sign veteran shortstop Nick Ahmed

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Dodgers activate Tyler Glasnow, sign veteran shortstop Nick Ahmed

The Dodgers have yet to make any trades ahead of next Tuesday’s deadline.

But their roster got another notable shake-up Wednesday.

Before their game against the San Francisco Giants, the Dodgers activated pitcher Tyler Glasnow from the injured list, and signed and activated veteran shortstop Nick Ahmed.

In corresponding moves, shortstop Miguel Rojas was placed on the injured list with a flexor strain in his throwing arm. Pitcher Landon Knack was optioned, sent back to triple-A Oklahoma City despite his 3.07 ERA in nine outings this year. Reliever Ricky Vanasco was also designated for assignment to create room on the club’s 40-man roster for Ahmed.

Glasnow’s return was long expected, with the team’s right-handed ace returning as scheduled from back tightness he sustained before the All-Star break.

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Rojas’ placement on the injured list was also no surprise, after he was removed early from Sunday’s game with discomfort in his forearm.

While the team was initially optimistic that Rojas could avoid an IL stint, manager Dave Roberts said a medical scan this week showed the strain in Rojas’ arm. His timeline to return is unclear, but Roberts didn’t make the injury sound serious.

“I think it’s something that he’ll be able to bounce back from,” Roberts said.

In Rojas’ absence, the Dodgers signed Ahmed to a major-league deal Wednesday, inking the 11-year veteran and two-time Gold Glover two weeks after he was released by the Giants.

Roberts said Ahmed, a longtime member of the Arizona Diamondbacks who batted .232 in 52 games with the Giants this year, would serve as the Dodgers’ primary shortstop in Rojas’ absence — or, at least, until Mookie Betts returns in the next couple of weeks from his broken hand.

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“Got a call late last night, and came to terms pretty quickly,” Ahmed said of signing with the Dodgers. “Pretty obvious choice, just playing against these guys for a long time. Having the opportunity to compete and win a championship is something I want.”

The odd man out in Wednesday’s flurry of moves was Knack, the rookie right-hander who seemed to be establishing himself in the Dodgers rotation after a five-inning, one-run start Tuesday night.

Knack, however, became the casualty of a roster crunch. He had minor-league options. He was also the most recent member of the Dodgers rotation to pitch — which, with a couple off-days on the schedule in the next week, left his next potential start date unclear.

Instead, the Dodgers decided to send Knack down and preserve their bullpen depth, something that could be important the next two nights as Glasnow and Clayton Kershaw make their first starts back from the injured list.

“It was one of those timing situations for Landon,” Roberts said. “But I can’t say enough about what he did for our ball club.”

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Buehler’s next steps

Walker Buehler said he will begin a rehab assignment with triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday. It will be his first live game action since going on the injured list last month with a hip injury.

Buehler is expected to make two rehab starts, Roberts said, before rejoining the Dodgers rotation next month.

Before going on the IL, Buehler had struggled in his return from a second Tommy John surgery, going 1-4 with a 5.84 ERA in eight starts.

Hurt having Tommy John

In other injury news Wednesday, the team announced that prospect Kyle Hurt is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery next week, ending his 2024 campaign and probably sidelining him for most of 2025 as well.

A USC product acquired in a 2021 trade with the Miami Marlins, Hurt had emerged as one of the top pitchers in the Dodgers’ farm system, earning the club’s minor league pitcher of the year award last year while leading all minor-league pitchers with 14.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

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Hurt made his MLB debut with one outing last September, then opened this season in the Dodgers’ bullpen, giving up two runs (one earned) in 6 2/3 innings over three appearances.

He missed a couple of months earlier this year with a shoulder injury, but had been back pitching for Oklahoma City for a month before exiting an outing on July 4 with an apparent arm injury.

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Xander Schauffele or Scottie Scheffler for PGA Tour Player of the Year?

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Xander Schauffele or Scottie Scheffler for PGA Tour Player of the Year?

We must begin this article with a pair of admissions: We remain eternally envious of our co-workers and media center brethren spending their July gallivanting around Scottish links courses, and try as we might, we have not mustered any enthusiasm for the 3M Open. We appreciate your understanding and instead have opted to write down and publish a conversation that began Sunday during the end of the Open Championship.

Hugh Kellenberger: Let’s start here: The men’s golf player of the year race has gone from a coronation of Scottie Scheffler to a two-man race between Scheffler and Xander Schauffele. The latter made it a conversation with his stirring win at the Open Championship, in one season vaulting from “best player to never win a major” to “a guy who can win half of the majors in a given year.” But I’m curious, Gabby, is performance in the majors the only data point that matters in this race, at least to you?

Gabby Herzig: This is a tricky one because I am definitely in the camp that majors define a career, but do they — and should they — define a single season? It’s hard to argue against the fact Scheffler has been dominant all year long, even though Schauffele was the best during two very important weeks. Scheffler’s six wins (compared with Schauffele’s two) include the Players, the Masters and four PGA Tour signature events, one coming just a week after his runaway victory at Augusta — and we still have the playoffs to evaluate. There are more than a few data points to take into account here, with strokes gained statistics, consistency and wins outside of majors being just the tip of the iceberg. Should Schauffele’s two-major season overshadow all of that?

Hugh: Deciding that it does means no other event matters more than the four major championships, and though that is true in the broad scope of a career, there is a level of nuance to it on a year-to-year level. Is Schauffele winning at Valhalla in 2024 automatically more impressive than Scheffler’s win at TPC Sawgrass, just because we’ve decided one is a major and the other is not? No, I don’t think so. They are roughly equal in almost every other way, including field quality. So if you say that of the five biggest events of the year, each won two, that narrows the gap in this POY conversation. And that’s before we get to this: Both will be at the Olympics and the Tour Championship. Are we going to end up having to crown someone based on what they do at Paris’ Le Golf National next week?

Gabby: That’s why things could get dicey — I wouldn’t say any of the remaining events in the 2024 season are necessarily going to sway the debate much, unless Scheffler or Schauffele goes out and wins two or even three more times. So why not just turn to the numbers? Scheffler is still leading the PGA Tour in strokes gained total by a significant margin — a stat purely based on week-to-week performance, compared with the field. No biases on which tournament means more. Just data. Scheffler holds a 2.760 strokes gained on average, compared with Schauffele’s 2.201. Then the list drops off to Rory McIlroy at 1.896. Schauffele is catching up to Scheffler, but he said it himself after winning the PGA: “All of us are climbing this massive mountain. At the top of the mountain is Scottie Scheffler. I won this today, but I’m still not close to Scottie in the big scheme of things.” Player of the Year is decided by a PGA Tour member vote. If there’s anyone who understands how difficult it is to perform to that high of a standard on a week-to-week basis, it’s Scheffler and Schauffele’s peers.

Hugh: Right, and it’s that group that picked Patrick Cantlay in 2021 despite his not winning a major, and Scheffler a year ago even though he didn’t win a major. What does that mean? I think it’s a Scheffler three-peat, though I’m here for the argument that Schauffele deserves his flowers. Gabby, I’ll let you make your pick and then ask you this: Who will be Keegan Bradley’s next vice captain pick after selecting Webb Simpson on Tuesday?


Keegan Bradley will captain the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2025. (Ross Kinnaird / Getty Images)

Gabby: I’m with you, Hugh. I think they’ll go with Scheffler. This is the award for Player of the Year, not the Player of the Majors. But Schauffele deserves all the praise for what he accomplished at Valhalla and Royal Troon. He’s gotten over the major-winning hump and quickly joined a growing list of top active players with two majors (Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson). Perhaps his ability to knock off the first two so quickly will make him the best candidate to first get to three?

On to my Ryder Cup vice captain prediction. Tuesday, we saw Bradley select three-time U.S. team member Simpson as his first appointee. The pick aligns perfectly with what Bradley shared about his intentions when he was first announced as captain: He wants to surround his team with younger voices who are out there, week to week, interacting and building relationships with his potential members. I don’t think we’re going to see the next vice captain’s pick for a little while because I have a feeling it will be Rickie Fowler. While reporting on the selection process for Bradley, I was told Fowler’s name was part of the conversation about who could be the next captain. If Fowler doesn’t totally turn around his game somehow (he’s ranked 43rd in the U.S. Ryder Cup team standings), it’ll be a no-brainer decision for Bradley to bring him on board. He’s played in five Ryder Cups but he’s only 35 years old, and all the guys — and the fans — love him. Besides Tiger Woods, who is a complete question mark at this point, who would be better?

Hugh: Rickie Fowler, vice captain in charge of the vibes with a secondary emphasis on hydration. I can get behind it.

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(Photos: Patrick Smith, Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images) 

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