With the completion of the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies behind us (congrats to Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice and the late Joe Gordon), I became involved in a rather lengthy discussion with a my radio partner about why players choose a certain team hat to wear over another they played for when enshrined.
One person's name came up during this debate: REGINALD MARTINEZ JACKSON.
When you hear his name, you pretty much think of one thing: HOME RUNS. Maybe his arrogance, "the straw that stirs the drink" confidence, run-ins with Billy Martin and Thurman Munson, Reggie bars and who knows what else may also come to mind.
But for the most part, it was that sweet swing when you just knew it was going out.
The debate was rather simple. Why a Yankee and not an Athletic or Angel? Of course we also wondered if there was a private conversation with a certain team owner regarding which cap to wear into the Hall of Fame.
Just curious of course.
Does the nickname "MR. OCTOBER" ring a bell? When was that nickname bestowed on Mr. Jackson?
While in Oakland as an Athletic? NOT!
While in Anaheim as an Angel? OH NAY-NAY!
While in Baltimore as an Oriole for one year? I CAN'T BELIEVE I WOULD EVEN ASK!
It was when he played in New York as a Yankee. We all know what he did against the Dodgers: Hitting five home runs in the 1977 World Series, including the three off of three different Dodger pitchers in Game 6 of that series.
Being a Yankee fan, I took the position that REG-GIE, REG-GIE made the right choice. My counterpart in this discussion took the view of the Oakland Athletics.
I had to look up the numbers and here is what I found, courtesy of Yahoo Sports.
· 21 SEASONS: OAK (10 years), YANKS (five years), ANGELS (five years), BALT (one year)
· 563 CAREER HOMERUNS: OAK (269), NY (144), ANGELS (123), BALT (27) Note: If the number of years were doubled in both New York and California to match his time in Oakland, the home run totals would have been virtually identical. His one year in Baltimore was also very consistent with what he averaged over his entire playing career.
· 32 TOTAL POSTSEASON GAMES IN 10 YEARS IN OAKLAND
· 11 TOTAL POSTSEASON GAMES IN FIVE YEARS IN ANAHEIM
· 34 TOTAL POSTSEASON GAMES IN FIVE YEARS IN NEW YORK
· 2-0 WORLD SERIES RECORD WITH OAKLAND
· TOTAL OF TWO HOME RUNS IN THE TWO WORLD SERIES
· 2-1 WORLD SERIES RECORD WITH NEW YORK
· TOTAL OF EIGHT HOME RUNS IN THE THREE WORLD SERIES
During his time, there was nobody who could bring electricity and excitement to a game like Reggie when he came to bat in a clutch situation.
Not too many could deliver when it mattered the most during the playoffs and especially the World Series like No. 44, Reggie Jackson, Mr. October.