True Legends of the Fall

October 5, 2007, 9:30 am; posted by
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I have to admit I was disappointed when I found out that the movie Legends of the Fall was not about Reggie Jackson, or as we called him in the day, Mr. October. There, my friends, was a true legend of the Fall. This is the first week of October and, as you can tell, my thoughts have turned to baseball.

I became a fan in October 1972, when my mother bought 4 chances in a World Series baseball pool at work. She gave me a scrap of paper with the word Oakland and the number 2 scribbled on it in pencil. She explained that if the most runs were scored by Oakland in the 2nd inning, I would win money. I watched the opening game of the World Series that night for the first time in my young life and Gene Tenace hit a 2-run shot in the 2nd inning — giving me, and Oakland, the win. Four dollars and fifty cents! I was hooked. I didn’t win any more money after that first game, but I watched the rest of the series and rooted for Oakland.

They were playing Cincinnati, the Big Red Machine, with guys like Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, George Foster, Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion. Oakland fielded a team with the likes of Dick Green, Joe Rudi, Gene Tenace and Sal Bando, but their pitchers were the real story: Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue and John “Blue Moon” Odom. Reggie was injured and didn’t play, so I didn’t become a Reggie Jackson fan until years later — just an A’s fan, and a baseball fan.

I lost interest in baseball eventually, but then in 1977 I turned on the TV and saw that Oakland was playing New York. I decided to watch the game for old times’ sake, and started out rooting for Oakland, but soon realized I didn’t know anyone on their team anymore. I did remember Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter, but they were playing for the Yankees — so, just like that, I became a Yankees fan. And wow! What a time to start following the Yankees! Willie Randolph, Chris Chambliss, Graig Nettles, Thurman Munson and, of course, Reggie. And 2 World Series wins!

If you saw any of The Bronx is Burning recently, I have to say it was a wonderful depiction of those days; especially the day Reggie hit 3 home runs on 3 straight pitches to win it all. Good memories. After Reggie left New York, I lost track of baseball again, and it took Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill to bring me back again.

So far I have stayed for a decade or more and I’m looking forward to what this month will bring. Can they win again? Who will be the hero if they do? I’ve never seen anything to compare to Reggie’s performance in 1977 (I still have a REGGIE BAR candy wrapper stashed away in a safe place), but perhaps this could be the year a new Legend of the Fall is born.


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