It is remembered as one of the greatest single-game performances in sports history: the night that Reggie Jackson slammed three homers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, forever cementing his place as “Mr. October.”
In his remarkable performance on Oct. 18, 1977, Jackson cracked a drive off three Dodgers hurlers on three consecutive pitches in the deciding game of the Fall Classic.
“I felt like Superman,” Jackson said that night. “Nothing can top this. Who’s ever going to hit three home runs in a deciding World Series game? Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio? At least I was with them for one night."
The “Mr. October” honorific took root after the Bombers’ loss in Game 2, when Jackson questioned some of the decisions that manager Billy Martin had made. Yankees captain Thurman Munson quipped to reporters, “Billy probably just doesn’t realize Reggie is Mr. October.” The world would find out for certain six days later.
Stepping to the plate in the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium, Jackson pounced on the first pitch he saw from Dodgers starter Burt Hooton, blasting a two-run homer into the right-field seats. Jackson mashed another two-run blast when his opportunity came around in the fifth, this one off Elias Sosa.
From his seat in the dugout, Jackson mugged for the ABC cameras, waving at a national television audience and mouthing the words: “Hi, Mom!”
“We had a really good scouting team, led by Gene ‘Stick’ Michael,” Jackson told Yankees Magazine in 2017. “And they gave me such a great scouting report. I wanted to know how the Dodgers pitched to other similar hitters with different counts. … I got some really good statistics and Gene Michael told me, ‘They're going to pitch you in.’ That tip really helped me. I was also pretty good, so we made out all right.”
In the eighth, Jackson completed his sensational showing by mashing a Charlie Hough knuckleball into the distant black batter’s eye portion of the bleachers, joining Babe Ruth as the second player to hit three home runs in a World Series game.
“I remember our bat boy, Ray Negron, trying to get me to go out and tip my cap to the fans,” Jackson said. “After the second home run, I wouldn't do it. After the third home run, he pushed me out of the dugout, and I went out and saluted and thanked the fans.”
The display put the bubbly on ice as the Yankees prepared to celebrate the 21st championship in franchise history -- and the first with George M. Steinbrenner at the helm as the club’s principal owner.
“Being with the Yankees and winning world championships with them makes you part of a great fraternity,” Jackson said. “It's the greatest sports franchise in sports -- no other team has 27 world championships. I'm honored to be mentioned as one of the Yankees greats, especially because I only played there five years.”