Chapter 11: When childhood heroes turn into real-life villains before your very eyes

March 15, 2012 | Nestor Aparicio

here? What the f**k are you doing asking me a f**king question?”

I swallowed hard and waited to see if he was joking. He wasn’t.

“What the f**k do you know about baseball?”

I don’t know if he thought I was a kid who sneaked into the locker room or whatever? But I DID have a press pass, I DID gain entry and I WAS floored, if not by his being unprofessional, but more by the sheer meanness of it all.

Reggie Jackson was not a very nice man.

Ted Patterson gave him the program and that was that.

Since then, I have run into him on the street in Denver at an All Star Game and my wife and I had breakfast in a booth right next to him at the Super Bowl in Houston a few years ago but I have never spoken with him again. I’ve also seen him in a few Yankee dugouts under “working” conditions.

One time, my producer at Sporting News Radio had him booked into a show with me.
I thought about just bringing him on and telling him what an asshole I thought he was, but making him look small would only make me look smaller because I had nothing to gain, really, by being jerk just because he was 15 years earlier.

But, to this day, I have never, ever taken on heat like that before from athlete and never by someone I idolized.

The day that his house burned down, I celebrated on the air. Loudly and obnoxiously, which I’m sure you have a hard time believing considering I used “Nasty” Nestor as a moniker for almost 15 years.

But, I guess the lesson here is be careful what you wish for when you’re a little boy.

All of a sudden, those childhood memories of me begging my Berkshire Little League manager for No. 9 or No. 44 seemed like the most foolish thing in the world as I was entering into manhood.

Even if I had soured on Reggie, I had not soured on the baseball postseason or the Fall Classic.

During the fall of my Reggie “incident” I got tickets through my contacts at The Sun in October 1986 and went on a weekend sojourn to Shea Stadium to see the NLCS and the Mike Scott show when the Astros played the New York Mets. I was at the Lenny Dykstra home run game but heard the home run on the radio from a freeway in Queens. My friend Dennis Harty and I left the game early to beat traffic! He was PISSED!

I even have John Steadman’s press passes from that series and he wrote some great scuffball stuff on Scott because Davey Johnson was the manager of that Mets team and he knew and trusted Steady from the 1960’s “old school” Oriole days. Steady gave me a scuffed baseball that Davey Johnson got in the dugout during the game, and gave to him to prove it was no conspiracy, this business of Scott scuffing baseballs!

I can’t make this stuff up!

In 1987 I threw parties at my house on Kane Street every night during the Twins-Cards series. (I actually threw parties on Kane Street every night of my life during those days!)

In 1988, I can tell you who was with me (of course all names would be changed to protect the guilty), where I was and what I was doing when Kirk Gibson hit that ridiculous home run off of Dennis Eckersley. But it wouldn’t be right to give you her name!

But I do remember pacing the floor of my bedroom in front of my television, telling her that I’d remember her for the rest of my life because she was with me when I saw it and Vin Scully called it and those break lights in that parking lot out behind where my Pop and I sat at Dodger Stadium all flashed a vivid red when the ball into the Southern California sky. It’s been 18 years, I’ve seen that video a thousand times, and yes, I still remember her and how my jaw dropped open when he hit that home run.

In 1989, I was pulling out of the Capital Centre parking from an Elton John concert that I was reviewing when I put the radio on and heard the news that a massive earthquake had rocked the Bay Area before