Baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson had little to say Wednesday after a federal judge in Las Vegas ruled in his favor in a legal dispute with relatives over sports memorabilia, including a replica of his 1977 World Series championship ring.
"We have something that's property of the family, and we're doing our best to resolve it for the benefit of the family," Jackson said during his brief visit to the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse.
Jackson, 65, filed a lawsuit this month to stop his stepmother, Resurrection, from selling items he had given his father, Martinez, who died in 1994.
U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson granted a temporary restraining order July 6 that stopped Resurrection Jackson and American Memorabilia, a Las Vegas-based auction house, from selling the ring. The order also barred the defendants from selling a watch the New York Yankees presented to Jackson to celebrate his 400th home run.
On Wednesday, Dawson granted a preliminary injunction that extends his previous ruling.
"Reggie's appearance here indicates how serious he is about getting his property back," attorney Kirk Lenhard said after the hearing. Jackson lives in Carmel, Calif.
Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is Jackson's half-brother Martinez Jackson Jr., who did not attend the hearing.
"Even though a lawsuit has now been filed, I truly believe this is a family matter where greater efforts should be made amongst the family to resolve this internally, recognizing the needs and interests of all concerned," said Martinez Jackson's lawyer, Marc Risman.
The lawyer said Martinez Jackson and his mother, Resurrection, have been experiencing financial hardships. Both live in Philadelphia.
According to a statement on the American Memorabilia website, Resurrection Jackson has kept the ring "near and dear to her heart since 1994."
"It is only now that she has turned to what her husband had left her, her heirloom, to aid her and her family. She is now 77 years old, on dialysis and is unbelievably still working to make ends meet. She has no other means to support herself or her family and this will be her saving grace."
The couple were married for 21 years, according to the website.
Jackson was accompanied in court Wednesday by an older brother, Jah Mz Jackson, who said his brother earned the ring and watch during a long, celebrated and sometimes-arduous career.
"It's the family's position that they are his, and that's the long and short of it," Jah Mz Jackson said.
Risman said Jackson's father wore the ring every day for 17 years.
"This ring in question is not something that Reggie earned," the lawyer said. "This ring is a duplicate or replica that Reggie had made for his father."
Although the American Memorabilia website describes the ring as "Reggie Jackson's original World Series ring," Jackson claims he still has possession of the original, which is a size 13. However, he lets another older brother, Joe Jackson, wear it.
"I allow my brother, Joe Jackson, to display the 1977 championship ring," Jackson wrote in a signed declaration. "Joe does not have title to the 1977 championship ring and may not sell the ring. Instead, both Joe and I have agreed that the 1977 championship ring remains my personal property and will be passed to other members of my family and my descendants."
According to the document, Jackson had a similar ring made for his father, although it had an additional diamond and was a size 9.5. His father agreed that it should be passed to other relatives after he died.
When his father lost the ring a couple of months later, according to the declaration, Jackson had a second version of the ring made for him. Jackson also allowed his father to display the Cartier watch Jackson received from the Yankees.
Jackson contends these items were not given as gifts to his father and "were not intended to be sold" by his father or his father's family.
After his father's death, he asked Resurrection Jackson to return the second version of the World Series ring, and she did. She never told Jackson she had found the first ring, according to his declaration.
On June 22, a friend informed Jackson that the ring and watch were being auctioned on the American Memorabilia website. The auction was scheduled to close July 7.
The website still has a description and photos of the ring, but on Wednesday it displayed the message:
"The sale of this item has been postponed due to ownership dispute. We hope that the parties resolve it quickly and Ms. Jackson gets the proper care she needs."
According to the website, American Memorabilia was formed in 1994 by Victor Moreno, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Jeffrey Rugg, another lawyer representing the baseball star, said Moreno has indicated he placed a $50,000 reserve bid on the ring, meaning he would accept no less than that amount.
Rugg said the uniqueness of the items makes it difficult to place a value on them.
Jackson played baseball for 21 seasons, hit 563 home runs and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1993.
Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.