How Baseball Legend Reggie Jackson Turned His Passion for Classic Cars Into a Business

May 11, 2016, 12:30 PM UTC
Randy Tunnell Photography

This essay originally appeared in Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Sign up here.

First, a little disclaimer: The connection between Reggie Jackson and technology actually isn’t that tenuous. After all, I met “Mr. October” last week at an event organized by SAP—yes, the enterprise software giant.

Jackson, a case study in reinventing oneself, recently launched, his one-stop shop for buyers of classic car parts and accessories. (Think rosewood steering wheels, vintage air filters and old radiators—a market surprisingly valued at $36 billion). The connection to SAP? The Hall of Famer’s new website runs on the enterprise company’s soon-to-be-launched software for small businesses, SAP Anywhere.

The event took place at Reggie’s real-life garage just outside Carmel, Calif. Even if you aren’t a gearhead who can tell the difference between an M20 and M21 transmission, Reggie’s place is impressive. The three dozen or so muscle cars on display include brightly colored Camaros, Corvettes, and Mustangs, primarily from the ’50s and ’70s. The automobiles are so shiny you could eat off them. When Jackson pops the hood to show off what’s inside, you realize you could eat off the engine too. It’s the inner parts of these cars that Reggie has turned into a business—his website connects anyone looking to fix up their ride to a slew of specialty suppliers.

The longtime auto-lover’s first car was a ’51 Chevy he bought from his brother for $15. “It could go 55 miles per hour downhill,” Jackson recalls. Throughout his decades-long career playing for the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees—which resulted in five World Series rings—Jackson collected old cars. Once he retired from the sport, he decided to turn his other passion into a more serious hobby, often buying and then reselling muscle cars.

He started working on Reggie’s Garage, the one-stop shop for classic car parts, a few years ago, but struggled to find a back-end solution for cataloging the countless bolts and gauges he tracks down and sells to his customers. A long-standing relationship with Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP (SAP), led to Jackson trying out SAP Anywhere, which the company will launch at its upcoming customer conference later this month. The new software, a departure from SAP’s usual enterprise-level deployments, is geared at small businesses in need of web and mobile applications for tracking and selling (and even shipping) their inventory.

What SAP’s CEO thinks about the economy:

The real story here, however, is Jackson’s ability to turn his passion into a business—with a little help from technology.

“Everyone’s got an old hooptie in the garage that they want to work on,” Jackson says. “And I want to provide a solution to help them do that.”

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