October 18, 1977
1977 World Series | Game 6
YANKEE STADIUM, THE BRONX, NEW YORK — In a performance as dominating as any of those from the legends who came before him, Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on three pitches to power the New York Yankees to victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. It was the defining moment in pinstripes for Jackson, whose dramatic performance won over the fans and helped to earn him the suitable nickname, “Mr. October.”
Starters: Burt Hooton vs. Mike Torrez
WP: Mike Torrez LP: Burt Hooton
HR: NYY: Chambliss, Jackson 3; LA: Smith.
This was the day New York had been waiting for. Ever since the Yankees signed Reggie Jackson to a huge five-year contract in November of 1976, the brash slugger wielded a mouth as big as his bat. He was a dynamic offensive force for the 1977 pennant-winning squad, and his colorful quotes drew as much, if not more attention than his on-field play.
All of that changed when the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers rolled around. Jackson started slowly, but homered in Games 4 and 5 as the Bombers took a 3-2 Series lead. As it turned out, the big-swinging outfielder was just getting started.
Jackson walked his first time up in the second inning against L.A.’s Burt Hooton. When Jackson faced Hooton again in the fourth, he swung at the first pitch and lined it into the right field stands, a two-run shot that gave the Yankees a 4-3 lead and knocked the Dodger starter from the game.
Elias Sosa fared no better when he faced Jackson in the fifth. With a runner on first again, the slugger duplicated his previous inning’s work by sending the first pitch on an express run into the right field stands. By now, the raucous fans were sensing victory and demanding their star to take a curtain call, but Reggie shrugged it off.
Instead, he came out for a dramatic encore in the eighth. Reliever Charlie Hough was in to try his hand at shutting down a blistering-hot Jackson, but his attempt was futile as Reggie crushed a slow knuckler like a cracked piñata.
His third home run on three pitches was the most gargantuan of the night, a 450-foot missle to the empty black bleacher seats in deep center, and it simultaneously broke the backs of the Dodgers and cemented Reggie Jackson’s reputation as New York’s new postseason star.
Not even Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio or Mantle had achieved what Reggie did on that night: three home runs in one game and five overall, both World Series records. This time, with the Yankees up 8-3 and on the cusp of their first Series victory since 1962, Jackson came out of the dugout to pump his fists and acknowledge to the crowd that he finally delivered what he had promised. And though they chanted his name from the highest rows of the stands, the hero of the 1977 Fall Classic would soon be known by a new name: “Mr. October.”
Copyright 1977 by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball