"I wouldn't wish it on anyone": Baseball legend Reggie Jackson describes racism early in career

As part of the coverage of a major league baseball game being played in the former Negro League venue Ridgewood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, Hall of Fame baseball star Reggie Jackson was asked how emotional it was to return to the field. Ridgewood Field was his home stadium when he was a minor leaguer in the mid-1960s.

His answer is a raw, unvarnished account of the terrible racism he endured at the start of his career. I'm sorry this video bleeps out the harsh words, because we should not flinch at the ugliness of what was commonplace in America. Not in the era of the Negro Leagues, not in the pre-Civil Rights Act era, but in relatively modern times.

It's important to watch, because it's rare to see someone of Jackson's stature speak so plainly of the hatred and violence of the time.

He credits his teammates and manager, not only for helping him to endure the discrimination, racism and insults, but for saving his life.

"At the same time, had it not been for my white friends, had it not been for a white manager — and [Joe] Rudi, [Rollie] Fingers and [Dave] Duncan and Lee Myers — I would never have made it. I was too physically violent, I was ready to physically fight somebody. I'd have got killed here, because I'd have beat someone's ass, and you'd have saw me in an oak tree somewhere."