Reggie, Reggie, Reggie
The year is 1977. The city of New York has just come out of bankruptcy. The dog days of summer are complete. Summer has turned into autumn and it is time for the Fall Classic. All other teams have been eliminated in the play offs and we are at the final World Series games. Since the days of the Dodgers in Brooklyn, the Dodgers and Yankees have met several times in the World Series. This year’s Fall Classic is another match up of the same, with these once upon a time across town rivals. The Yankees are hoping to continue their dominance over the Dodgers. On the same token, the Dodgers hope to show that 1955 wasn’t a fluke. Setting the stage for these two teams to battle it out, the Yankees went 100-62 that season, managed by the ultimate fire ball, Billy Martin. The Dodgers were 98-64, managed by Tommy Lasorda. The Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals, three games to two, to punch their ticket to the Fall Classic. The Dodgers beat the Phillies, three games to one, to move up to the final World Series games.
The games started on October 11, 1977 in the Bronx, NY. The Yankees take the first game in 12 innings, with the game lasting over three hours. The Dodgers were not to be out matched, winning game two in the Bronx, 6-2 on home runs by Cey, Yeager, Smith, and Garvey. The series shifted to the west coast where the Yankees won game three in Los Angeles, five to three. The Yankees followed suit with game four, winning four to two. The Dodgers, now facing the brink of elimination, fought back to win game five in Los Angeles, ten to four, pushing the series back to the Bronx. This gave the Dodgers a little bit of hope. Game six in the Bronx will always be a game that will forever play on MLB highlight reels. It was a game that future Hall of Famer, Reginald Martinez Jackson, would never forget.
Let’s talk about Reggie. In his first at bat, he hits a home run. In his second at bat, he hits another home run. In his third at bat, as he steps to the plate, all you could hear coming from the crowd was the chant, “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie.” Facing Charlie Hough, on the first pitch, Reggie hits another home run thus sealing his fate and becoming Mr. October. Forevermore, the legend of that night will be etched in baseball purists’ minds and those who love to watch the ultimate games of the 70’s. Jackson would later go on to collect 2,584 hits, with 563 home runs, making it to the Hall of Fame with 93% of the vote. The #44 will probably never be worn again without somebody thinking of Reggie Jackson. For those that were there to see game six of the 1977 World Series, watching the Yankee best the Dodgers, they will never forget what they saw, or the feelings they had in the stadium after Reggie hit that third home run.
The excitement coming out of that game was a double edge sword. One edge was that if you were a Dodger fan, the end was another brutal blow, while Yankees fan get to celebrate the World Series victory. But the other side of the sword meant that for the rest of baseball fans, the Fall Classic was over and it would be another 100 plus days before getting to hear those words in Spring Training, “Play ball.” What Jackson did that night helped alleviate some of the pain of not having baseball for a time because it was a magical moment. Baseball is America’s favorite pass time and if you are old enough to remember watching that game, you will remember where you were when that Charlie Hough knuckle ball was thrown and Jackson deposited it into the seats. That is why we watch, that is why we play it, and that is why we love it.
For the love of the game.
By Bill Perkins, Top Fan Rivalry