It was Game 6 of the 1977 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers on the night of October 18, and by the end of the evening, Yankees superstar slugger and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson would accomplish one of the most impressive feats in postseason history.
It took three swings of the bat for Jackson to earn the lasting nickname “Mr. October,” as he homered off of three different pitchers on the first pitch of his last three straight at-bats.
Only the mythic Babe Ruth had ever homered three times in a World Series game before that, doing so in 1926 and again in 1928, but never on consecutive trips to the plate.
As Jackson modestly reflected after the game, “Babe Ruth was great. I'm just lucky."
The first blast occurred against Dodgers starter Burt Hooton in the fourth inning. Jackson pummeled a towering shot over the right field wall to score Thurman Munson and give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Hooton was promptly removed from the game.
The second blast occurred against Dodgers reliever Elias Sosa in the fifth inning, again clearing the right field fences to bring in Willie Randolph and make it a 7-3 ballgame. Sosa, too, was promptly removed from the game.
The third blast occurred against Dodgers right-hander Charlie Hough in the eighth inning, this time traveling an estimated 450 feet into straightaway center for an epic solo shot into the bleachers, finishing off the spectacular night for Jackson.
The Yankees would take Game 6 by a score of 8-4, securing their 21st franchise championship and further cementing Jackson as one of the most fearsome hitters of all time.
After claiming World Series MVP honors that year, he would eventually go on to join the Hall of Fame with 563 career home runs and 18 homers in the playoffs. Those 563 blasts are still the 14th-most all-time.
Jackson truly was “the straw that stirs the drink.”