Taylor: Reggie Jackson’s MLB playoff legacy and the true definition of ‘clutch’

From Shakeia Taylor at SB Nation on October 18, 2019:

Oct. 18, 1977. World Series Game 6. Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Yankees. Three pitchers, three consecutive at-bats, three pitches, three home runs.

Over his postseason career, Reggie Jackson hit for a .278 average with 18 home runs, 48 RBIs and 41 runs, making him one of the most productive players in playoff history. He won the World Series MVP award twice, in 1973 and 1977.

For nearly a decade, Jackson did the impossible. By the numbers, he was merely an average hitter in the regular season. But come every October, he shifted into another gear. Whatever setback or obstacle he faced, he bounced back. He hit harder. He became a rarified talent. It raised the question: What makes Reggie Jackson so special?

“Clutch” is a widely debated term. Sabermetrician Bill James once wrote, “How is it that a player who possesses the reflexes and the batting stroke and the knowledge and the experience to be a .260 hitter in other circumstances magically becomes a .300 hitter when the game is on the line? How does that happen? What is the process? What are the effects? Until we can answer those questions, I see little point in talking about clutch ability.” James isn’t wrong, yet to say that Jackson wasn’t clutch would be sacrilege. “Clutch” might be the thing he was most destined to become.

Read the full article here: https://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2019/10/18/20919887/reggie-jackson-mlb-playoffs-legacy-yankees-home-runs-mr-october

Originally published: October 22, 2019. Last Updated: October 22, 2019.