On October 1, 1903 the first World Series was played between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since then, every October the best teams in baseball have met to decide who will reign as World Champions.
October is the time when baseball players can become stars and stars can become legends. Perhaps the biggest playoff legend is none other than Mr. October himself- Reggie Jackson.
Reggie’s famous “Mr. October” title was actually first given to him by teammate Thurman Munson. During a conversation with reporters, Munson told the group to “go ask Mister October”. Referring to Jackson, this comment was made about him tongue-in-cheek, as he had already started gaining a noticeable reputation for playing well during the playoffs.
By this point Jackson had already won 3 World Series with the Oakland A’s. During the 1973 series he earned the MVP honor.
He would go on to win 2 more rings and another series MVP. Here’s a look at Mr. October by the numbers.
THE 5 TIME CHAMPION
Reggie Jackson played on 6 World Series teams, winning with 5 of them.
Won with Oakland Athletics. Jackson had 0 plate appearances due to a hamstring injury.
Won with Oakland Athletics. Batted .286, scored 3 runs on 4 hits with 1 HR, & also drew 5 walks.
Won with New York Yankees. Case could be made he should have won another World Series MVP batting .391, 9 hits, & 8 RBI.
Won with Oakland Athletics. He earned the World Series MVP batting .310, 3 runs scored, 9 hits,
& 6 RBI.
Won with New York Yankees. World Series MVP, batting .450, 10 runs, 9 hits, & blasting a record 5 Home Runs!
In 1981, he lost with the New York Yankees. At age 35, this was his last trip to the World Series. He still produced at a high level batting .333 with 3 runs, 4 hits and 1 home run.
During World Series games alone he amassed 116 plate appearances. During this span, which covered 5 series over 11 years, he owned a superb .354 batting average. To put this in perspective, on the Career World Series batting average top ten list, Paul Molitor sits at 10th with a .418 average. However, this extremely high average only covers 61 plate appearances- or about half of Jackson’s total number of plate appearances. In fact, no other name on this top ten list comes anywhere close to Reggie’s PA number. The fact that he maintained such a high average over the course of nearly double the PA of any other player on this top ten list is very impressive.
Reggie also holds an impressive Career World Series OPS of 1.214. The leader in this category is Barry Bonds who leads with a 1.994 OPS record. However, this number comes from a comparatively small sample size of 30 plates appearances- or only about a quarter of Jackson’s.
IMPRESSIVE POSTSEASON STATS
Batted .278 during 17 series over the course of 11 years with 318 plate appearances
5th all-time in Postseason Home Runs (18)
7th all-time in Postseason RBI (48)
9th all-time in Postseason Total Bases (148)
AMAZING WORLD SERIES STATS
Jackson Batted .354 during 5 series over the course of 11 years accumulating 116 plate appearances
World Series Career Stats
7th in Slugging % (.755)
T-8th in Total Bases (48)
T-10th in Doubles (7)
T-10th in Home Runs (10)
T-8th in RBI (24)
6th in Win Probability Added (1.3)
World Series Single-Season Stats
6th in Slugging % (1.250, 1977)
8th in OBP (1.792, 1977)
T-1st in Runs Scored (10, 1977)
T-2nd in Total Bases (25, 1977 – George Springer set record last October)
T-1st in Home Runs (5, 1977)
THE 1973 WORLD SERIES
Down 2 games to 3, the A’s had to win the next two games. In the first 5 games Jackson was having a poor series. Outside of a 4 hit performance during a Game 2 loss, he had only 1 hit in 15 at bats in games 1, 3, 4 and 5.
But in game 6 he went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI which was the difference in a 3-1 win. He hit two doubles to knock in the first 2 runs of the game.
In game 7, during a big 3rd inning, Jackson hit a 2 run bomb to put the A’s up 4-0 basically sealing the game and the series.
His clutch RBI hits in games 6 and 7 earned him the WS MVP honors.
THE 1977 WORLD SERIES
Jackson started the series going 1 for 6 in games 1 and 2
But in games 3 through 6 he went 8 for 14 for a .571 BA, with 5 Home Runs and 8 RBI and 10 Runs. He only struck out twice. In game 3 and 4 the 2 runs he scored were the difference makers.
In game 6, Reggie virtually single handedly carried his team to a win and another World Series victory.
The Dodgers scored two runs in the top of the first to have an early 2-0 lead. But in the bottom of the second Reggie coaxed a leadoff walk which was followed by a 2 run home run to tie the game.
The Dodgers re took the lead in the top of the 3rd.
In the bottom of the 4th, Jackson hit a 2 run home run to retake the lead for the Yankees. It was a towering blast into the upper deck
In the bottom of the 5th Jackson hit another 2 run home run to give New York a commanding lead. This was a line drive smash just over the fence in right field.
In his next at bat in the bottom of the 8th Jackson went yard again for his 3rd home run of the game giving him 5 RBI. This blast was to straight away center.
Because of this effort, Reggie Jackson earned his 2nd WS MVP honor. Each home run was hit on the first pitch off of 3 different Dodgers pitchers.
Jackson made a case to win back to back WS MVPs as he hit .391 with 8 RBI. He contributed 2 RBI in the series clinching victory, but teammate Bucky Dent hit 3 RBI in this game and earned the MVP honors.
STILL MR. OCTOBER
Since Jackson retired following the 1987 season, after 30 years Jackson still holds the title of “Mr. October”. Sure, there’s been historic performances from a number of different players. More so, at this point Derek Jeter has a firm hold on a number of postseason records. So how has Jackson’s legacy endured?
Perhaps it’s the unique combination of the longevity of his playoff appearances, his 5 championships, and the 2 World Series MVPs he earned. Finally, his individual performance during the 1977 World Series is arguably still one of the best of all-time. Will anyone ever inherit the mantle of Mr. October from Jackson? Don’t count on it.