10,000 days: 500th homer for Mr. October

Ten thousand days ago, Reggie Jackson made a bit of baseball history for himself. On Sept. 17, 1984, the most feared slugger of his generation did something long expected of him, bashing his 500th career home run.

It came in the seventh inning off current Padres manager Bud Black. It was the only bad pitch Black threw that night, as he led the Royals to an easy 10-1 win over Jackson’s Angels.

That shot, though, made Jackson the 13th member of the 500 home run club. There are currently 25 members, so exactly as many men have joined the club since Reggie Jackson did as joined it before him.

Perhaps you wouldn’t expect that. After all, there have been only 27 seasons since Jackson hit No. 500. But it’s worth noting there have been nearly as many homers hit from Opening Day 1985 as beforehand. In those last 27 seasons, baseball has had 120,775 homers, which is 46 percent of all homers hit in baseball history.

Then again, maybe you would expect there to be that many homers hit in recent times. There is expansion, PEDs, and possibly juiced ball (league-wide home rates went up rather oddly prior to the 1998 home run race and all that).

It’s also worth noting that the upsurge in members of the 500 home run club actually isn’t a new thing. It also happened during Jackson’s career. A month before Jackson debuted, Mickey Mantle became the sixth member of the club. Four years and four months later, Frank Robinson became the 11th member. The club more than doubled in five seasons with Mantle, Robinson, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews, Harmon Killebrew and Hank Aaron all joining it. And Willie Mays entered the club just a little before them, too.

As for Reggie, he ended his career with 563 dingers. His favorite victim was former White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood, who surrendered eight blasts to Jackson.

Jackson’s 563 home runs included 10 walk-off homers and four inside-the-park shots. In fact, one homer was both a walk-off and an inside-the-park homer. That came against Boston’s Sonny Siebert in the second game of a doubleheader on Aug. 22, 1971. It was the last of his career inside-the-park homers.

Jackson also belted six pinch-hit homers in his career. Two of them were grand slams. Once pinch-hit slam came off Chicago’s Terry Forster on Aug. 22, 1976—exactly five years after his inside-the-park walk-off blast. Reggie really liked Aug. 22, I suppose. In all, he blasted 11 slams, pinch-hit or otherwise.

Despite that, according to WPA, his clutchest home run was neither a grand slam nor a walk-off home run. It was a three-run homer in the top of the ninth with two outs and his Angels trailing Toronto 6-4 on June 18, 1983. That gave California a 7-6 lead and gave Jackson a value of 0.724 WPA with one swing.

It’s interesting that his best WPA home run would come against a Blue Jay. In general Jackson had trouble homering off Toronto pitchers. He faced longtime Blue Jay Jim Clancy 62 times without ever homering against him. That’s the most plate appearances he ever had against a pitcher without a homer. The runner-up with 55 PA is Dave Stieb, Clancy’s longtime teammate.

Regardless, Jackson did get to 500 homers, and it happened exactly 10,000 days ago.

Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim the list.

Day-versaries

1,000 days since Zack Greinke loses 1-0 and sees his ERA rise to 0.51.

4,000 days since Bill Rigney, longtime baseball manager, dies.

5,000 days since Cleveland signs amateur free agent Willy Taveras.

6,000 days since Paul O’Neill hits three home runs in one game for the Yankees.

6,000 days since Mike Moore appears in his final game.

9,000 days since Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams wins his 1,500 big league game. He’s the 13th manager to do so. His record: 1,500-1,366.

9,000 days since Mike Schmidt collects his 2,000th hit. He does it in style, too, with three home runs in this game. It’s the third time he’s had at least three homers in one game.

9,000 days since the Reds release veteran pitcher Jerry Reuss.

10,000 days since Harold Baines belts three home runs in one game for the second time in his career.

15,000 days since Elmer Flick, Hall of Famer, dies.

20,000 days since Hank Aaron gets five hits in a game for the second of three times in his career.

20,000 days since Roy Campanella experiences his worst WPA game: -0.617 WPA. He is 0-for-7 with a K, and a GIDP as the Cards top the Dodgers 3-2 in 16 innings.

20,000 days since Robin Roberts fans 13 batters in one game, his personal best. His line: 9 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K. He beats the Cubs. 4-2.

25,000 days since the A’s lose their 20th consecutive game. They lose this one in the bottom of the ninth to the White Sox. Then they win the second game of the doubleheader to end the losing skim, 8-1.

25,000 days since Carl Hubbell appears in his final game.

Anniversaries

1885 Slim Sallee, pitcher, is born.

1886 Former pitcher and future Hall of Famer Albert Spalding opens his sporting good company with $800.

1890 Hall of Fame executive Larry MacPhail is born.

1898 The Reds trade Red Ehret, Dummy Hoy, and Claude Ritchey to Louisville for Bill Hall.

1900 Rival forces vie to claim Union Park Ball Grounds in Baltimore. John Grounds men camp around a fire they created at third base. Ned Hanlon’s guys group at first base.

1910 The Reds trade Miller Huggins and two other players to the Cardinals for a pair of players.

1920 Rube Foster forms the Negro National Baseball League.

1934 The Cardinals and Browns agree to cease broadcasting their home games on the radio in hopes of building their attendance.

1938 The Dodgers sign free agent outfielder Kiki Cuyler.

1942 Baseball owners okay President Roosevelt’s suggestion for more night games. There will be 14 per year for the 11 teams with lights, which is double the previous limit.

1947 Joe Coleman, pitcher, is born.

1952 Fred Lynn, center fielder, is born.

1954 The Milwaukee Braves release Walker Cooper.

1961 The Yankees say they’ll stay at the same spring training hotel despite that fact that it won’t allow blacks there, stating “We don’t run the state of Florida.”

1977 The Phillies sign free agent second baseman Davey Johnson.

1978 F. J. “Steve” O’Neill buys the Indians.

1979 Minnesota trades veteran infielder Rod Carew to the Angels.

1983 Baltimore signs free agent defensive specialists Aurelio Rodriguez.

1986 The Players Association files a grievance against the owners, charging collusion.

1987 The Expos trade Jeff Reardon to the Twins.

1989 Bill White named the new NL president.

1990 Darryl Strawberry is admitted to an alcohol treatment center in New York City.

1993 Marge Schott is fined $250,000 and banned from day-to-day operation of the Reds for a year.

1996 The White Sox sign free agent pitcher Kevin Tapani.

1998 Brian Cashman becomes the new Yankees GM.

1999 After 16 years, the Mets don’t ask announcer Tim McCarver to return to their broadcast booth. Tom Seaver will replace him.

2006 The Padres sign free agent catcher Mike Piazza.

2006 The Giants rename their stadium AT&T Park.

2011 The Yankees sign free agent pitcher Freddy Garcia.

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