Reggie’s First Homer Of His Three Homer Night (Excerpt from Becoming Mr. October)
From Becoming Mr. October, by Reggie Jackson with Kevin Baker, Doubleday, 2013.
In the sixth game of the World Series against the Dodgers, I remember calling upstairs to Gene Michael in the box in Yankee Stadium. Checking how he thought they would pitch me. I got a lot of insight from Stick and trusted him; I trusted our scouts. They had so much time in the game.
We were in agreement that they would try to come in on me. It’s the most common approach with most players with power. Once a player gets his arm’s extended, he’s able to hit the ball a long way. Better keep that player crowded, keep the ball in and make him hurry, keep the ball in on him so he doesn’t get a chance to extend his arms. If he does, it’s a loud sound: boom!
After I got a walk in my first at-bat, Stick said, “Hooten’s gonna pitch you fastball in.” That’s what I expected. Nice to have him co-sign my thought.
What I did was, I stepped back in the batter’s box about four inches-four inches farther away from the plate. From the tips of my shoes to the balls of my feet, that’s how I measured it.
I always cleaned the batter’s box before I got in. Did a little gardening. I didn’t want to see another guy’s mark and think it was mine. I always went in, swept everything away with my feet-and that gave me the chance to measure where I wanted to stand. Four inches farther away from the plate than where I would normally stand. Then I leaned forward, toward home plate, to make it look as if I wasn’t in a different spot.
Soon as Hooten threw the ball, I was spinning.
I hit it hard, a low bullet-a nice four iron-that went deep into the crowd in right field. It got out in a hurry, and it scored Munson ahead of me and put us up again. I came back into the dugout, saw the camera right there in front of me with the red light on, and just held up one finger.
I knew I was going to do well. The ball seemed big, and I was very comfortable and confident. The crowd was very much on my side, screaming on their feet, full of support. I could look into George’s box and see he was standing up. I could see friends and family sitting close-by. Nice feeling.