Reggie Jackson has fond memories of ‘gracious’ Hank Steinbrenner

The voice on the other end of a cell phone in Newport Beach, Calif. was a little thinner than it usually is because Reggie Jackson was talking about his relationship with Hank Steinbrenner.

A friendship that began when Jackson was a Yankee from 1977 to 1981 and Steinbrenner was the 20-year-old son of team owner George Steinbrenner, continued throughout the years and ended early Tuesday morning when Hank Steinbrenner passed away in Clearwater, Fla. at 63 due to a longstanding health issue.

“Very generous, thoughtful and respectful. He was a helluva guy, a lot of personality. He would tell you jokes. Loved to talk about the game. Loved the job that Hal (Steinbrenner) was doing and the organization, what they were doing, the steps they were doing,” Jackson told The Post on Wednesday. “He was gracious and kind and a big tipper. Thoughtful of people. He was a helluva guy to be around. A good guy to be around.”

And, according to Jackson, the relationship between Hal, who became the Yankees’ managing general partner in 2008, and Hank was without jealousy.

“There was no jealousy with his brother, I will tell you that,” Jackson said. “Hank will be missed. The shame of it all is that his brother (Hal) really worked at trying to get (Hank) involved. Nothing would have made Hal happier than to have his brother involved. (Hal) would always say to me, ‘Reggie, I have to call my brother on these decisions, help me get him up here.’”

Following a brief period of time when Hank was the voice of Yankee ownership and offering colorful quotes to the media, Hank faded from the every-day landscape of the organization.

“He was worldly in his conversations. He could speak about anything and make sense. He was well read. He loved baseball and old school baseball and spoke highly of Gene Michael,” Jackson said of the late Yankees GM. “He developed a strong respect for Brian (Cashman) and (amateur scouting director) Damon Oppenheimer.”

While Hank Steinbrenner had some of The Boss’ bluster, Jackson answered “no” when asked if the son was like the father. However, Hank inherited certain traits from George.

“The biggest thing I would say he was like George was that he was stubborn and didn’t mind spending money. You couldn’t buy anything when you were with him. He was kind to everybody,’’ Jackson said. “There wasn’t anybody in the organization who didn’t feel better when Hank was around. When he was around people felt good that he was around. Whether it was Joe the bartender or the Cucuzzas who were there for years and years with their family in the clubhouse. When Hank was around everybody felt better, the whole organization.‘’

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