Apparently in the spring of 1987, the one and only Reggie Jackson was all set to audition for a then-upcoming series by "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry.
So says a supremely awesome Hollywood memo, re-published by the website Letters of Note.
Jackson, who was entering the final season of a Hall of Fame career in the majors, was to read lines for the role of Geordi La Forge on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
Geordi, in case you're not much of a Trekker, was Capt. Picard's engineer aboard the starship Enterprise in Roddenberry's vision of the 24th century. While extremely smart and crafty, the character also was born blind so, because it was the future, Burton was made to wear a silly visor that approximated human vision.
Hence the above Photoshop of Reggie, as Geordi, greeting Mark of the McGwire Planet.
LeVar Burton won the role, of course — and Wesley Snipes was in the running, too — but Paramount exec John Ferraro said Mr. October, who still dabbles in acting, was the favorite.
Via Letters of Note:
There are several contenders for "Tasha," "Geordi," and "Data." However, Rosalind Chao seems to be a favorite for "Tasha"; Reggie Jackson for "Geordi"; and Mark Lindsay Chapman for "Data."
As anybody not stuck in transporter stasis for the past 25 years knows, none of that turned out how the memo said it might. (Besides, Reggie seems more like a Klingon, doesn't he?)
Yet, I'm not sure it's fair to say Jackson struck out in his bid to join Spock, Kirk and Q among the "Trek" continuum.
Considering the memo was sent in April, Reggie might have had trouble doing a callback for a TV series in the middle of baseball season — even if it was his last one. Plus, considering the show premiered in September, that means shooting in the middle of summer. (Reggie's already one of the boys of summer.)
Who knows if it really came down to this or not, but ... what if Reggie just hung up his spikes in the middle of the season and joined the Federation?
Would he have pulled off the role as Burton (pictured) did? Would fans have accepted Reggie Jackson walking around the engineering deck of a starship, wearing goofy shades and touching the pin on his breast to chat with Patrick Stewart about a possible warp core breach?
I'm not saying that Reggie Jackson would have killed the re-generation of the Star Trek franchise, it's just impossible to envision him (photoshops not withstanding) being a living part of it.
Although, to his credit, Burton pulled off baseball player Ron LeFlore pretty well...
No matter. When was "The Naked Gun" filmed, anyway? If he's on the Paramount set doing "Trek," would Reggie ever have had a chance to utter the immortal words: "I must kill ... the queen"?
That's not a science-fiction universe in which I want to beam.
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BLS h/t: @RobNeyer (via @jdbranno)
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