Santa Claus will always be the talk of December. And everybody knows November is reserved for turkeys. But October? Well, there's only one Mr. October.
On this day in 1977, Reggie Jackson saw three pitches from the Los Angeles Dodgers and he sent each of them far into the Bronx night on his way to a World Series performance that will always been remembered.
With the Yankees needing one more victory to clinch the 1977 World Series, Jackson hit three homes runs and caused a near riot in the Bronx in the process.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Jackson's feat is that he hit the three home runs on only three pitches from three different Dodgers pitchers.
Jackson had been dialed in all series, notching home runs in the previous two games, but no one could have possibly imagined the All-Star having a night like he did against three Dodgers pitchers that held sub-3.5 ERAs that season (Charlie Hough, Elias Sosa, and Burt Hooton).
Interestingly, Jackson was given the nickname Mr. October before his remarkable performance that night. Earlier in the series, Yankee great Thurman Munson was being interviewed and sarcastically suggested the reporters try talking to "Mr. October" instead, referring to Jackson. For obvious reasons, the nickname stuck.
Jackson recounted the three home runs that would forever change his life in the October 31st, 1977 issue of Sports Illustrated:
"Well, the first [a two-run shot in the fourth off Dodger starter Burt Hooton] put us ahead 4-3, so that was real enough. It was a hook shot into the stands. Before the second one [a two-run line drive in the fifth], I talked to Gene Michael [a Yankee operative in the press box] and asked him what Elias Sosa threw. I knew I was going to hit the ball on the button after hearing from Gene, but I didn't know how quick it would come. That one iced the game 7-3. Before the last one I saw Charlie Hough warming up. A knuckleballer. Frank Robinson taught me how to hit that pitch in 1970 when he managed me in winter ball. I thought if I got a decent pitch I could hit another one out. Anyway, at that point I couldn't lose. All I had to do was show up at the plate. They were going to cheer me even if I struck out. So the last one was strictly dreamland. Nothing was going through my mind. Here it's a World Series game, it's going all over the country on TV, and all I'm thinking is, 'Hey man, wow, that's three.'"
Now, more than 30 years later, there is still only one name synonymous with the month of October.
Will the World Series give us another star performance to keep Jackson company? We'll just have to wait and see, right Mr. Cruz.
Click below to scroll through other players who have hit three home runs in a single MLB playoff game.
Incredibly, the Bambino notched three home runs in a single playoff game on two separate occasions. Once in game 4 of the 1926 World Series and once in game 4 of the 1928 World Series. Both amazing feats came at the expense of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Robertson was a career .242 hitter making his name on this list perhaps the most unlikely. But he got his bat in order when it counted, belting four home runs total and three in a single game during the Pirates 1971 National League Championship Series sweep of the Giants.
In 144 regular season games, Adam Kennedy accumulated a grand total of 7 home runs. In game 5 of the ALCS he hit three. Some players just know how to pick their spots.
Royals hall of famer George Brett hit three dingers in a single game against the Yankees in game 3 of the 1978 ALCS...and it still wasn't enough to win. New York won 6-5 and ultimately swept the series.
The Rangers every one of Adrian Beltre's three home runs in order to overcome the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in their AL division series clinching win.