Mr. October: Reggie Jackson and the 1977 World Series

On this day in 1977, in game six of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson hits three home runs in a row off of three consecutive pitches from three different pitchers. Jackson’s amazing home-run streak helped the Yankees win the game and the series, the team’s first since 1962. Jackson became Mr. October that night.

Now for the call. In in the fourth, Jackson nailed Burt Hooten’s first pitch low and hard into the right-field bleachers. “A line drive,” Los Angeles Times reporter Jim Murray wrote, “that would have crossed state lines and gone through the side of a battleship on its way to the seats.” In the fifth, with two out and two on, Jackson treated reliever Elias Sosa’s first pitch the same way. And in the eighth, he emerged from the dugout to a standing ovation, reached down for pitcher Charlie Hough’s diving knuckleball, and sent it flying 450 feet into the center-field bleachers. It was, Murray wrote, a “booming Jack Nicklaus-type tee shot, high and far, the kind that pitchers wake up screaming in the middle of the night over.”

That last homer put the Yanks in the lead 8-3, and–in spite of the ubiquitous security guards and policemen in riot gear who lined the first- and third-base lines–the stadium was about to explode. It got so bad that Jackson had to come in from the outfield during the last inning and get a batting helmet to protect his head from the cherry bombs and firecrackers that the bleacher creatures were throwing onto the field. When the game ended, the field flooded with fans. They had a new hero: Reggie Jackson, now known as “Mr. October.”

In his 21-year career, Jackson hit 563 home runs and retired as the all-time leader in Series slugging, with a .755 average. And no one ever achieved what he did in 1977: three home runs in three swings, and five homers in all in the series. Still, Jackson was uncharacteristically modest. “Babe Ruth was great,” he said. “I’m just lucky.”

Author: Bill Urich

A tail-end baby-boomer, Bill Urich was born in Cleveland to a grade school teacher and her Navy vet husband, and reared in Greater Detroit. Working his way through school primarily at night, Mr. Urich holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University. In his legal career he has acted as an assistant state prosecutor, city attorney, special prosecutor, mediator, magistrate, private practitioner and mayor of Royal Oak, a large home-rule city in Michigan. Mr. Urich continues in private practice and municipal prosecution, is on faculty to DePaul University, pens regular contributions to political publications, and remains active in selected campaigns and causes related to labor, social and criminal justice. A father of three mostly-grown sons, he spends his precious free time on family, friends, the pursuit of happiness, beauty and truth, three rescue cats, and fronting the rock band Calcutta Rugs from behind the drum kit.

1 thought on “Mr. October: Reggie Jackson and the 1977 World Series

  1. As that game ended I slipped on to the field at the end of the Yankees dugout near first base. I saw fans trying to run into the dugout only to be clubbed like baby seals by the police. One of the greats World Series games every. And Reggies feat is how legends are made.

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