Jackson still remembers watching the legendary Yankees each throw out the first pitch at various postseason games, a celebratory event that he was tapped for prior to Friday's Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
"It's special because it's for the Yankees," Jackson said. "I'm proud to be part of that."
The premier slugger known as Mr. October was greeted with a roaring ovation from the crowd at the new Yankee Stadium and valiantly tossed a one-hopper to veteran catcher Jorge Posada.
"I got about four or five throws in [my arm]," Jackson said prior to the toss. "I've been trying to get loose for the last few days."
Regardless of Jackson's throw, the 14-time All-Star's record speaks for itself.
Jackson joined the Yankees in 1977 and was an integral part of New York's World Series championships in '77 and '78, playing in pinstripes until '81.
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In Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, Jackson hit three home runs, all on the first pitch, as the Yankees beat the Dodgers to wrap up the club's first World Series championship since '62.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993 and is currently a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman. Jackson played 21 seasons in the Major Leagues and had 563 career home runs, as well as 18 in the postseason.
Yankees captain Derek Jeter's two-run homer in the third inning of Game 1 tied Jackson and Mantle for third place on the all-time postseason homers list, and Jackson couldn't resist giving Jeter some good-natured ribbing.
"I said, 'It's about time. Now you're with some real hitters,'" Jackson joked.
Although if Jeter chooses to pass him in the Yankees' current series against the Twins, Jackson won't mind.
"It's really enjoyable for everyone to watch," Jackson said of the 2009 Yankees team. "What's really going on is you're seeing teamwork: collective attitudes, collective talents and personalities together. Everybody is pulling the wagon and pulling their piece, and it's enjoyable for me to see."
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less