Mr. October is 63
By Craig Muder
Clutching the pack of Topps baseball cards my mother had just agreed to buy for me, I rushed past the candy display at our neighborhood market that spring day in 1978 — only to stop with a startled shake.
Like any kid, I had the candy rack memorized: Hershey bars here, Three Musketeers there — all in their usual place. But then I saw it: This square, orange wrapper with the baseball player on it, disrupting the order I knew so well.
The Reggie Bar had arrived.
At 9 years old, I had yet to grasp the magnitude of Reggie Jackson‘s Game 6 performance in the 1977 World Series. But I could tell this was someone special. And that fall, when Reggie had two more homers and eight more RBIs against the Dodgers in the 1978 World Series, I thought greatness was simply Jackson’s birthright.
But Jackson’s career was much more than those two unbelievable World Series. He appeared in the postseason in more than half (11) of his 21 seasons, winning five World Series rings. He was a 14-time All-Star, and he still ranks 19th all-time with 1,075 extra-base hits.
It is the home runs, however, that everyone remembers: The towering shot that nearly left Tiger Stadium in the 1971 All-Star Game; his third homer of Game 6 in 1977, deep into the black of Yankee Stadium’s former bleachers; that go-for-broke left-handed stroke that seemed to bring out every ounce of power in the man. His 563 home runs still rank No. 11 on the all-time list.
Today, on Reggie’s 63rd birthday, much of that history is just memories. But the aura surrounding Jackson still remains.
As for the swing, it’s still there — though now it’s on the golf course. The stride, the follow-through, the power.
Ping! And that white ball is majestically flying.
Just like it was in 1977.
I never did care for the candy. But long after the Reggie Bar left supermarket shelves, the sweet taste of success still belongs to Reggie Jackson.
If you want to keep up with Reggie, visit his Web site and blog.
Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.