Let's retire Reggie Jackson's nickname

Chris McGrath

Not so long ago, I happened to mention that Reggie Jackson's hardly got a claim on the title of Greatest October Hitter. He's not in my top five, and probably shouldn't be close to anyone's top five. But while Jackson obviously has a vested interest in defending his reputation, I hope interviewers stop asking him to defend his nickname. From The Daily News over the weekend:

Reggie Jackson is happy to praise David Ortiz, but he's not ready to share his nickname.

Jackson appeared on HuffPost Live to promote his new book, "Becoming Mr. October," and was asked by the host, "Some people say he might be the new Mr. October. He put up some big numbers."

The host did not specify who exactly was awarding Ortiz with this nickname.

"He did a great job," Jackson said of the Boston DH. "There's only one Mr. October."

Then Jackson muttered, possibly to himself, "We've got one day left. Don't say nothing silly now."

The host did not ask what Jackson had one day left to do, although the two did share an awkward laugh, before moving on to a different topic.

I'm tempted to engage in a bit of idle speculation. What did Reggie have one day left to do, or avoid doing? ... but that would be mere idle speculation, and I know you come here for facts rather than my ill-considered opinions.

I will say, though, that I find this nascent (or perhaps non-existent) debate pretty pointless. Of course there's only one Mr. October. While it's true that a few good nicknames have been shared -- "Big Cat" comes to mind -- Reggie Jackson has been Mr. October so famously and for so long that there is only one Mr. October, and that's how it should stay. The nickname was never designed as a sort of prize for doing well in the tenth month; it just happened, spontaneously, when Thurman Munson called him that -- yes, probably sarcastically, but what the hell -- and the writers picked up on it because a few days later Reggie hit three home runs in a big game. And somehow, it stuck. Which is exactly how nicknames should happen.

So, no: We're not going to rechristen a new Mr. October every time David Freese or David Ortiz or David Whomever gets hot for a few weeks when the leaves are turning. Ortiz already has a good nickname, and Carlos Beltrán can have a good nickname if somebody comes up with one, and it sticks.

Fact: Reggie Jackson is far from the greatest postseason hitter ever.

Ill-considered Opinion: Who cares?



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