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Baseball aficionados remember Oct. 18 as the day New York Yankees slugger Reggie Jackson hit three home runs with three consecutive swings in the 1977 World Series, earning his "Mr. October" moniker. I wrote about that performance, and its maestro, in this space eight years ago. 

The 1977 season was Jackson's first with the "Bronx Bombers." One of the earliest free agent stars, he'd been traded from the Oakland A's to the Baltimore Orioles in midseason during 1976, and spurned the Orioles' lowball offer to sign with New York that winter.

Before the new season started, Jackson got in trouble with his soon-to-be teammates. In a boastful interview with Sport magazine writer Robert Ward, Jackson proclaimed himself the Yanks' new alpha male, to the point of gratuitously insulting the team's captain, catcher Thurman Munson. "It all flows from me," Jackson added. "I'm the straw that stirs the drink."

There was a point to Jackson's crowing: The famed franchise hadn't won a World Series in 15 years and Jackson was proclaiming that he'd come to New York to change that. But the way he conveyed his intentions wasn't how you win over new teammates.

Things would get worse in the Yanks' clubhouse before they got better. In a nationally televised June 18 game in Fenway Park, Jackson broke slowly on a ball hit by Red Sox batter Jim Rice. Convinced Jackson had loafed on the play, Yankees manager Billy Martin humiliated his star by sending Paul Blair into replace him in right field with Rice still standing on second. Jackson and his manager nearly came to physical blows in the dugout. Among old-school baseball fans, Jackson was about as popular as Joe Biden's Afghanistan policy. But the president -- not to mention Yankee fans everywhere -- can take heart from what happened exactly four months later.

On Oct. 18, 1977, before the sixth game of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jackson was feeling it in batting practice. Stepping into the hitting cage he knocked three consecutive pitches into Yankee Stadium's third deck. As other players stopped what they were doing and watched, Jackson hit a fourth pitch deep into the right-field bleachers. This barrage continued until backup catcher Fran Healy reminded Jackson of the old baseball adage about not using up your best swings in practice. "I thought to myself," Healy later recalled, "Boy, is he gonna have a horseshit game."

Instead, Reggie put on a show for the ages. Until that night, only Babe Ruth had ever hit three homers in a single World Series game. (The Babe did it twice, in 1926 and 1928.)

But on this night, playing in the famed "House That Ruth Built," Reggie Jackson would do it on three consecutive pitches off three different pitchers. His feat clinched the game and the Series, the team's first title since 1962, and solidified Jackson's reputation as a big-game performer.

He had stirred the drink, all right, hitting five homers in the six-game set with the Dodgers, earning the Series' MVP award and helping reestablish another Yankees dynasty. In the aftermath, Jackson didn't tempt the baseball gods. "Babe Ruth was great," he said with uncharacteristic modesty. "I'm just lucky."

Terry McAuliffe, call your speechwriters. 

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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