Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"MR. OCTOBER" AND THE "BRONX ZOO"

The 1970's were an interesting decade for baseball in many unique ways, and one of those was the fact that the '70's can be arguably defined by no less than THREE dynasties: the Oakland A's, winners of three consecutive championships from 1972-1974, the "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds who won the next two World Series in 1975 and 1976, and last but not least the "Bronx Zoo"-era New York Yankees, who fought their way to the NEXT two championships in 1977 and 1978.
Three teams who won SEVEN World Series from 1970-1979. Add to the fact that the Reds lost the Series in 1970 and 1972, and the Yanks lost in 1976, and you realize that these teams represented HALF the teams who even PLAYED in a World Series that decade. On top of THAT, the Pirates were bookend World Series champs to those dynasties, winning in 1971 and 1979, with the Orioles a legitimate "almost dynasty", winning the series in 1970, but could have easily won a couple more here or there. As a matter of fact that 1970 Oriole team was the best American league team of the '70's record-wise, sporting a 108-54 won-lost total. (I'll be profiling them and the 1975 Reds, the National League team with the best one-season record of the 1970's, in a later post).
For the Yankees and the "Bronx Zoo" years, Reggie Jackson was indeed the "Straw that stirred the drink" as he famously stated in his now-classic interview with Robert Ward in Sport Magazine during Spring training before he ever even played an official game for the team. Granted, he didn't actually come up with that himself, as Ward somewhat goaded Jackson into that quote. But when it was all said and done, Jackson sealed the aura of "Mega-Star" later that Autumn when he became "Mr. October" with his monstrous World Series performance against the Dodgers, leading the Yanks to their first World Series win since 1962, the longest drought in Yankee-land since the pre-Babe Ruth days.
The following year, Topps graced us with one of my all-time favorite baseball cards: Reggie's regular issue (#200) with him following through with his classic "all-or-nothing" swing.
This is one of those cards I consider "perfect": The great sun-drenched action photo of Jackson with his "cool" shades, an even-toned beige-colored feel throughout the card, including the script-style "Yankees" along the lower left, and yes, that favorite of mine, the "All Star" designation in the upper right.
I still love looking at this card!
As cheesy as it sounds, I STILL remember where I was when I pulled my first '78 Reggie card out of a wax pack: coming out of a corner grocery store in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn after my mom sent me to the store for milk. I used 20¢ of the change for ONE pack. Boy was I psyched! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do:



1 comment:

  1. I agree, the card is PERFECT; one of my favorites, too (and I HATE the Yankees, lol).

    ReplyDelete

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