Do you remember where you were on October 18, 1977?
(And if you say you weren’t born yet, well then … welcome to the Old Baseball Fans’ Corner of the internet.)
You can bet Burt Hooton, Elias Sosa, and Charlie Hough remember where they were that night. Probably Don Sutton, too.
See, that was the night the Los Angeles Dodgers arrived in the Bronx with hopes of staving off elimination at the hands of the New York Yankees.
That was the night of Game 6 of the World Series.
Unfortunately for L.A., that was the night Reggie Jackson decided to put an exclamation point on his title of Mr. October, and to seal the deal on the creation of a candy bar in his honor.
By that point, Reggie was already a veteran of five postseasons’ worth of play, with the Oakland A’s, plus the Yanks’ five-game 1977 ALCS win over the Kansas City Royals.
Plus, he had already hit two homers in the previous five games of the 1977 Fall Classic, with the last one coming in his final at-bat of Game 5 against Sutton at Dodger Stadium.
But then … wow!
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Reggie walked in his first plate appearance of Game 6, against Hooton in the bottom of the second. He scored when the next batter, Chris Chambliss, went deep.
That tied the score at two.
Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Reggie came up with the Yanks down, 3-2, and Thurman Munson on first — one swing of the bat later, and the Bombers were up 4-3.
They added another before the frame was over, and Reggie came up again in the bottom of the fifth with Willie Randolph on first and two out, New York still leading, 5-3. Sosa was on the mound for the Dodgers at that point, but it didn’t matter …
Reggie homered. Yanks went up, 7-3.
That was the end of the line for Sosa, who yielded to Doug Rau, who in turn handed off to Charlie Hough in the seventh. Those two shut down the Yanks for two-plus frames, but it turns out that was only because The Man hadn’t come up again.
But Reggie did come up again, to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and Hough became Jackson’s fourth victim in four at-bats spanning two games.
Home run, Yanks up 8-3, legend cemented, start printing the candy bar wrappers.
And if you were a baseball card collector watching along at home, dying to have the guys on your pasteboards match the guys on the screen, where did you turn to find Reggie in a Yankees uniform?
Well, considering this all happened during the Topps Monopoly years, and that Reggie had signed a free agent deal with New York just the winter before, your options were limited.
Sure, you had the base Topps card of Reggie, but that was glopped with more airbrush goop than your local 1990s T-shirt shop. (And you had the underlying proof card showing Reggie as a Baltimore Oriole — well, you didn’t, but one or two people did).
Same thing for the O-Pee-Chee card.
Topps Cloth Stickers, too.
And the Venezuelan League stickers, although, if you could find all nine card backs, you had a puzzle version of a real Reggie-Yankees shot.
Hostess brought us a Reggie Yankees card … and more bad airbrushing.
And you had various discs of Reggie — those said “New York Yankees” but had all identifying marks removed, to protect the famous.
Kellogg’s took a hard pass on the whole Reggie thing, apparently waiting for the uniform situation to die down.
But … where could you get a real single baseball card showing the real Reggie Jackson in his real New York Yankees uniform, in 1977?
Well, if that was the way you wanted it, you could have it your way — thanks to the first Topps Burger King Yankees set.
It’s the one that started all the “I have this Topps card showing Billy McHero but the number on the back is different from what the Topps card number is supposed to be for Billy McHero so it must be worth a lot but how much is it worth?” confusion.
And there, on card #17 in the 1977 Burger King Yankees, we see Reginald Martinez Jackson holding a bat, looking into the camera, waiting for things to get started.
Reggie is wearing black long sleeves under his Yanks pinstripes, so you figure it’s probably a spring shot, when the temperatures were still cold. And it’s all real, right down to the shine on his Yankees batting helmet.
If it all looks familiar, well, that’s probably because it’s the same get-up Reggie donned on October 18 that fall. The one we got to see on card #413 in the 1978 Topps set.
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But Jackson wasn’t just Mr. October — he was Mr. Flair.
See, the Yanks opened the 1978 season with five road games, during which Reggie went homerless.
Then, on April 13, they came back to the Stadium for their home opener, where thousands of fans got their hands on free Reggie bars, making their world debut.
Reggie the man didn’t come up until the second inning against the Chicago White Sox, but when he did, there were two on and one out, and the score was tied at zero.
And, with one swing of the bat, Reggie showed Sox hurler Wilbur Wood what all the fuss was about.
Yanks up 3-0.
Reggie wrappers raining down.
Just like that 1977 Burger King Reggie Jackson baseball card.
Wow! Wax of the Day
Know what else you could get at Burger King in 1977? Well, sure, a Whopper. But besides that … yeah, Star Wars glasses, like in this lot on eBay.
There were four glasses in all, and this box contains all four, packaged up just like they were given to corporate BK employees (according to the lot description, anyway). Check out the full listing right here (affiliate link).
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