This week in 1976, George Steinbrenner signed Reggie Jackson to what I consider the best free agent deal in baseball history. It was the one deal that worked out perfectly for the player and for the team. In five years, the Yankees won four division titles, three pennants, and two world championships.
The only year that they didn’t win, was 1979, the year that they lost the teams inspirational leader and captain Thurman Munson in an airplane crash. In 1977 Reggie would probably have the greatest game that a player could ever have in World Series history when he would hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches.
Thurman Munson would anoint him Mr. October right after that game. It was a beautiful moment. One that I was so grateful to have been able to share with Reggie and Thurman. I was sitting next to Reggie by his locker when Thurman walked by on his way out and he stoped looked at Reggie and said "You sure did put on some show tonight Mr. October."
Reggie understanding the Magnitude of the name actually thanked Thurman for the name. Thurman smiled and said, "Don’t say I never gave you anything" and they laughed. The rest is Yankee history. The next day the Yankees would have their tickertape parade and Mr. October would ask me to ride with him in the canyon of heroes!
Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, "Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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