The day Reggie became Mr. October

Yes, I remember watching this: it was game 6 of the 1977 World Series. Reggie Jackson hit three HR in a row off three different pitchers: Burt Hooton, Elias Sosa, and Charlie Hough. And then he became Mr. October! This is the story:

"Legendary ABC play-by-play man Keith Jackson set the scene as Reggie Jackson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth of Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.

“Reggie Jackson has seen two pitches in the strike zone tonight. Two. And he’s hit them both in the seats,” Jackson said on the night of Oct. 18, 1977.

A 10-second pause followed as the capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium cheered New York’s right fielder.

Then, Dodgers pitcher Charlie Hough went into his windup and delivered.

“High…” Keith Jackson said as he began to describe the ball that Jackson smashed to center field.

But that was all he could manage before his broadcast partner, Howard Cosell, excitedly interrupted him.

“Goodbye! Oh, what a blow! What a way to top it off!” Cosell yelled as the ball bounced off the black-painted batter’s eye and into a fan’s waiting hands. “Forget about who the Most Valuable Player is in the World Series. How this man has responded to pressure.”

Those were the days. Keith Jackson calling a baseball game and Howard Cosell always sharing his thoughts. How do you beat that?

1977 was Jackson's first year with the Yankees: .286 BA, 32 HR & 110 RBI and a great post season. Overall, Jackson hit .357 with 10 HR & 24 RBI in 27 World Series games with Oakland and New York.

I remember watching this game with mixed feelings. On one hand, I always appreciate players from any sport doing something historic. On the other hand, I did not really like Jackson because he was a "hot dog" as we called them back then. He was also a hot dog who hit massive home runs, especially when I was cheering for the Orioles against the A's in the ALCS or against the Yankees in those late 1970s AL East pennant races. It just seemed that Jackson would figure out some way of killing my team. So I hated him in that sort of way that baseball fans hate the big bat on the other team.

My hatred for Jackson is now long game. So I just smile now watching those old videos of Reggie circling the bases and loving every accolade coming from the crowd. Yes, no one loved attention more than Jackson. Unlike others, this Jackson earned each one even if at times you'd wish our pitcher would nail him in the back the next time he batted.

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Image: Martin Lewison

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