On This Day in History | 1978
On this day 35 years ago it rained candy bars in the Bronx.
In the 1978 home opener the Yankees celebrated “Reggie Candy Bar Day,” handing out Reggie! candy bars to the 44,667 fans in attendance. Adding to the buzz in the Stadium that day Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were honored before the game.
In the first inning, Chicago’s Wilbur Wood got himself into a jam, yielding a leadoff walk to Willie Randolph and a single to Mickey Rivers, bringing “the straw that stirs the drink” to the plate. Reggie Jackson dug in and took the first two pitches for balls. Then, Jackson connected with a 2-0 knuckleball, sending it deep over the right-center field wall. As soon as the ball disappeared from sight it began to rain orange squares as the crowd threw the free Reggie! bars all over the field while chanting, “Re-ggie! Re-ggie!” For several minutes the chocolate and peanut confection fell from every corner of the Cathedral, covering the hallowed ground of Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees went on to win the game 4-2 behind a complete game performance from Ron Guidry. Afterwards Jackson said of the event, “I just appreciated it. It was a nice gesture.” Yankees manager Bob Lemon was less forgiving of the fans quipping, “People starving all over the world and 30 billion calories are laying on the field.” The other astonishing part of the feat was that along with Jackson’s 3 home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, this round-tripper gave him a home run in 4 consecutive at bats.
I was concerned the people didn’t like it. Standard Brands and Curtiss Candy out of Chicago, they thought it was the greatest PR thing they ever could’ve dreamed of because they got like two and a half minutes of airtime on national television. They really thought that it was wonderful. I was nervous that people didn’t like it.
| Reggie Jackson |