Quick!

What’s the first thing that flashes through your mind when you think of Reggie Jackson?

Well …

Seeing as how we like to cuddle up to dusty old cardboard around these parts, maybe it’s that 1969 Topps rookie card of his.

Or, perhaps it’s the swagger and braggadocio that helped make Reggie larger than life throughout his career.

Maybe it’s the big-money free agent deals, first with the New York Yankees, then with the California Angels.

Or, maybe it’s the physical altercation between Reggie and Yanks manager Billy Martin that went down in the dugout during a June 1977 game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Maybe.

For a lot of baseball fans, though, there’s no extricating Reggie from the memory of his three home runs in three at-bats against the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series to lift the Yankees to their first title since 1962.

That’s the game, and those are the moments, after all, that elevated Reggie from hotdog extraordinaire and the self-proclaimed Straw that Stirs the Drink to Mr. October.

Truth is, though, Reggie had plenty of postseason glory under his belt before he ever stepped foot in the Yankees’ clubhouse.

You might remember, for example, that Mr. Jackson played a key part in five straight Oakland A’s division titles in the old American League West from 1971 through 1975.

Right in the middle of all that, he even won the 1973 A.L. MVP award, joining Vida Blue in 1971 as the only A’s to cop that hardware during their magical run.

But Reggie wasn’t just a summertime phenom for Charlie Finley’s champs — no way!

In those five Octobers, the slugger appeared in 32 games, hitting .271 with five home runs, seven doubles, 15 RBI, ten runs scored … and even three stolen bases.

All of that was a shade below his in-season production, but Reggie also saved some of his best work for when in mattered most.

In the hotly contested seven-game World Series against the New York Mets, Jackson connected for just a single home run, but he collected six RBI and hit a robust .310. Most significantly, Reggie drove in the difference-making two runs in a must-win Game 6 and he save his homer for Game 7.

It was enough to make him the MVP of the Fall Classic and provided some foreshadowing of what was to come later in the decade.

And, speaking of foreshadowing — though in a mind-bending, retrospective sense — take a gander at the 1974 Topps card celebrating Oakland’s victory in the 1973 ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles (#470):

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There’s Reggie, in all his glory, taking a mighty cut.

Looks right, and appropriate…right? Reggie in the autumn sun, slaying all foes?

Right.

At least until you look at the stats on the card back …

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So, that ALCS wasn’t Reggie’s finest moment, and it *was* among the finest for Bert Campaneris and Catfish Hunter (and the rest of the pitching staff listed, save Blue).

And we don’t even get to see the gaud of Reggie’s six strikeouts here.

Still, Topps knew how the rest of October 1973 played out.

And they knew who the big fish was on those A’s teams, at least from a flash-and-splash standpoint.

So Reggie got the call on their ALCS recap, prescient when you roll forward to cards #472-479, which dive into the details of the bloody tilt with the Mets.

That ALCS Reggie card, of course, was also a warmup for the fireworks to come with the Yankees, and it stands today as a reminder that Mr. October’s roots extend deep into the early days of shag carpet.

Groovy.

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That ‘74 Topps playoffs card up there may not be the most valuable Reggie ever, but it’s a beauty, anyway. If you want to see what Reggie’s really are pulling in the big(ger) bucks, though, check out our YouTube rundown:

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