Today in Sports History: October 18th

10/18/1977 - Reggie hits three homers

The New York Yankees defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games to win their first World Series title since 1962, ending a tumultuous and at times chaotic season in triumph. Providing the highlight of the night is Yankees outfielder Reggie Jackson, who earns his place in baseball history with a performance that no one would ever forget. Jackson has only three at-bats in the Bronx Bombers' 8-4 win and homers in all three of them, on the first pitch he saw from three different pitchers.

By his final at-bat in the eighth inning, Yankee fans were already shouting "Reggie! Reggie!" Jackson, who was already referring to himself as "Mr. October," showed why his nickname would stick for the rest of his life. On the first pitch he saw from knuckleball-thrower Charlie Hough, Jackson smacked the ball to the deepest part of the park, right into the empty black seats beyond the center field wall. It was his third homer of the game and his fifth in the World Series -- tying and setting the fall classic records.

As the hometown crowd went ballistic, ABC's Howard Cosell immediately declared Reggie Jackson the MVP of the series. "As I began to move around the bases, I felt so… vindicated. Completely vindicated," Jackson wrote in his autobiography. "I felt so light on my feet, floating on the noise. It was the happiest moment of my career. It is the happiest moment of my career."

"I thought I made a pretty good pitch," Hough later said. "I didn't think he would hit it like that. I knew he killed it. I looked right at him when he hit it, and I thought, 'What a year this guy just had.'"

Jackson would indeed win the World Series MVP and would be forever known as one of the clutchest players in baseball. "I'm glad (Jackson) hit the three because he was not getting the MVP if he didn't," said Mike Torrez, who won Games 3 and 6 for the Yankees. "I pitched two complete games. There were some guys who felt I should have won it."

10/18/1974 - Thurmond records quadruple-double

After 11 seasons with the San Francisco and Golden State Warriors, Nate Thurmond plays in his first game with the Chicago Bulls. Thurmond, who had been traded for Clifford Ray in the offseason, made the greatest first impression of all time. He totaled 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 blocked shots as the Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks, 120-115 in overtime. It was the first quadruple-double in NBA history.

Thurmond averaged exactly 15 points and 15 rebounds a game over his 14-year career and was later named as one of the 50 greatest players of all time. He later pointed out that while it was great to be the first player to get the rare achievement, it was partially thanks to a technicality. Blocks and assists had only started getting counted in the 1973-1974 season, meaning that it was impossible to know if players such as Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain or even Oscar Robertson -- three players likely to have pulled it off -- had actually done so.

"You think I never had a quadruple-double before 1973-74, when the NBA first started recording blocks and steals?" Thurmond wrote for Bulls.com. "Let me put it this way: I had 12 blocks in my quadruple-double game, and it was my 12th year in the league. That’s with two bad knees and more than 30,000 minutes pounding NBA floors, night after night. You bet I had plenty of quadruple-doubles before 1974."

Only three players have matched Thurmond's feat: Alvin Robertson in 1986, Hakeem Olajuwon in 1990, and David Robinson in 1994. No player has ever recorded a quintuple-double: double-digits in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals.

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