Reggie Jackson set the record for most home runs in a World Series when he launched 5 homers in a 6 game series versus the Dodgers in 1977. This record held until 2009 when Chase Utley matched the feat against the Yankees in a losing effort. In this past World Series George Springer tied the mark with 5 of his own against the Dodgers in a seven game series win. It’s impressive when a post season record stands for forty years, especially when considering the current playoff format. The current playoff system allows for more games to be played in the post season than the system that was in place years ago. More games equal more chances. More chances equal more opportunities to rack up counting stats – and that’s why many post season records fall and why the current post season record book is filled with players from the past 20 years or so.
The 2017 regular season featured unprecedented power as home runs came from the usual suspects like Giancarlo Stanton (59) but also from surprising sources like Francisco Lindor (33). This trend continued into the post season as homers continued raining from the skies. The year of the homer culminated with George Springer scaling the mountain of power and planting his flag next to the one Jackson placed four decades prior.
With these two players separating themselves from the countless other power hitters that have appeared post season history, I wanted to take a closer look at the production of each player given the environment of the World Series in which each player accomplished the 5 homer feat.
In 1977, Jackson’s Yankees faced off against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees ultimately defeated the Dodgers 4 games to 2. During the 6 game series, a total of 17 home runs were hit, 5 by Jackson. This means that Jackson hit 29.47% of all home runs in the World Series that year.
Game by Game Breakdown of Home Runs (1977):
Game 1: Randolph
Game 2: Cey, Yeager, Smith, Garvey
Game 3: Baker
Game 4: Jackson, Lopes
Game 5: Jackson, Munson, Yeager, Smith
Game 6: Jackson (3), Chambliss, Smith
In 2017, Springer’s Astros faced off against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros defeated the Dodgers 4 games to 3. During the 7 game series, a total of 25 home runs were hit, 5 by Springer. This means that Springer hit 20% of all home runs in the World Series in 2017.
Game by Game Breakdown of Home Runs (2017):
Game 1: Bregman, Taylor, Turner
Game 2: Springer, Gonzalez, Altuve, Correa, Pederson, Puig, Seager, Culberson
Game 3: Gurriel
Game 4: Springer, Bregman, Pederson
Game 5: Springer, Gurriel, Altuve, Correa, McCann, Bellinger, Puig
Game 6: Springer, Pederson
Game 7: Springer
So which performance was more impressive? It depends on how you evaluate the results. Here are a few interesting ways to look at the information:
- Jackson hit his 5 home runs in a six game series while Springer hit his 5 during a seven game series.
- Jackson hit 3 homers in one game.
- During his 3 homer game, Jackson hit a home run off three different pitchers.
- Springer hit a home run in four consecutive games.
- Springer hit a homerun in 71% of his World Series games while Jackson hit a homer in 50% of his games.
- Jackson hit 5 of the Yankees’ 9 total home runs (62.5%) in 1977 while Springer hit 5 of the Astros’ 15 total home runs (33%) in 2017.
I’d give the nod to Jackson given the above information. However, 5 home runs in the World Series no matter the context is an amazing accomplishment and may not be seen by MLB fans for another many years.
Edit – A few readers nicely (and one or two rudely) pointed out that I did not include Utley’s 2009 5 home run performance. This article was intended to review the 1977 record setting performance by Jackson and compare it to the 2017 5 homer performance of Springer. I was remiss not to at least mention that Utley tied the record in 2009 so now there is mention of his performance in the opening paragraph. I hope this clarifies any ambiguity. Thanks again for reading.
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