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Reggie Jackson: Arrogance, Anger and Class

NEW YORK - APRIL 01:  Hall of famer Reggie Jackson  formerly of the New York Yankees waves to fans after throwing out the first pitch during Opening Day against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium April 1, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Harold FriendChief Writer IDecember 31, 2011

The New York Yankees trailed the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 at Dodgers Stadium in the top of the ninth inning. It was the second game of the 1978 World Series.

Bucky Dent led off with a single to left field against left-handed relief pitcher Terry Forster. Roy White then hit a dribbler that the somewhat rotund Forster fielded and threw to first for the out, moving Dent to second. It was as good or bad as a sacrifice.

Paul Blair, who had pinch-hit for left-handed hitting Gary Thomasson, drew a walk to put the potential tying and winning runs on base. That was all for Forster.

Young fire-balling right-hander Bob Welch came in to face Thurman Munson. All Munson could manage was a fly ball to right field that Reggie Smith caught for the second out.

When he first joined the Yankees, Reggie Jackson informed the world that “It all flows from me. I’m the straw that stirs the drink. Munson thinks he can be the straw that stirs the drink, but he can only stir it bad.”

Jackson, who had driven in all of the Yankees' runs, stepped into the batter's box.

Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was going against the "book" by having Welch face the left-handed hitting Jackson. Lasorda knew what he was doing.

Welch peered in to get the signal from Steve Yeager. It wasn't necessary because everyone knew that Welch would throw only fastballs.

Jackson worked the count full. Welch delivered. Jackson fouled it off. Welch delivered. Jackson again fouled it off.

Welch went into the stretch one more time as the runners took their leads. They would again be off with the pitch.

As Welch delivered another blazing fastball, Jackson was distracted by the runners in motion. It was just enough to cost him dearly as he swung and missed the high fastball to end the game.

Jackson angrily turned around as the game ended. As he reached the dugout, he threw his bat, which shattered against the dugout wall.

After the game, Reggie, always class, had calmed down.

"I got beat, that's all."

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