Oakland Athletics legend Reggie Jackson went into detail on his failed attempt to buy the team during an appearance on "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday. The slugger claimed that then-MLB commissioner Bug Selig directly intervened to keep Jackson and his ownership group from getting a deal done.
Jackson had assembled an ownership group that included Bill Gates, Paul Allen and John McCaw, and told Stern that he had the blessing of A's owner Ken Hoffman. Jackson's group was allegedly willing to pay $25 million more than any bid that Hoffman received for the team
But the A's were instead sold to Lew Wolff, a development Jackson believes came about by Selig and the league's owners colluding to keep him from their ranks. Jackson also claimed that he had plans to sue over the development, but backed off of those plans for fear of retaliation.
Jackson said he still, years later, "absolutely" believes Selig got in the way of him purchasing the team:
"I absolutely believe that Bud was the guy involved that denied me from getting a team. I had a 100-page lawsuit drawn up, I still have the deck, about 3-4 inches thick. And there's six inches of text messages and all that kind of stuff that went back-and-forth. I never filed it. I got scared away by some people in baseball. They said, 'Reggie, the first thing you have to do is resign from baseball, from the Yankees. And you probably won't get hired again. And you probably won't this and you probably won't that.' And I didn't know enough about the legal system, etc. I should have sued. I didn't. It's obviously still in my craw."
With Jackson allegedly kept from purchasing the team, the A's were owned by Lew Wolff from 2005 until he sold his shares to business partner John Fisher in 2016.
Currently, the Athletics are dealing with attendance issues and may not be playing in Oakland for much longer.