Back on May 22, 1976, switch-hitting Cardinals outfielder Reggie Smith harnessed all the funky power of his very impressive 'fro/chops/'stache combo and homered three times — twice batting right-handed and once batting left — driving in five runs in the Cardinals' 7-6 defeat of the Phillies at the Vet.
As my friend Ted Cogswell noted when I posted this factoid and photo on the Big Hair Facebook page, there was something cool about rooting for "The Other Reggie" — Reggie Jackson got all the press, of course, but The Other Reggie was more consistent at the plate and in the field, had a stronger and more accurate arm, and even posted some pretty similar (and in some cases even better) numbers in 1977 and 1978, the Reggies' first two full seasons with the Yankees and Dodgers, respectively. Behold:
1977 Jackson — 606 PA, 93 R, 39 2B, 32 HR, 110 RBI, 74 BB, 129 K, 289 TB, .286 Avg, .375 OBP.
1977 Smith — 603 PA, 104 R, 27 2B, 32 HR, 87 RBI, 104 BB, 76 K, 281 TB, .307 Avg, .427 OBP,
1978 Jackson — 581 PA, 82 R, 13 2B, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 58 BB, 133 K, 244 TB, .274 Avg, .356 OBP.
1978 Smith — 531 PA, 82 R, 27 2B, 29 HR, 93 RBI, 70 BB, 90 K, 250 TB, .295 Avg, .382 OBP.
Of course, Jackson had the charisma, star power and a candy bar; Smith was upstaged on his own team by Steve Garvey, who got all the media attention in LA — but if Smith hadn't been on the team in '77, the Dodgers wouldn't have won the NL pennant that year. Unfortunately, Smith's career hit a pretty hard downward slide beginning in 1979, one that was marked by injuries and an unfortunate 1981 incident where he went into the stands to attack a heckling Giants fan at Candlestick Park; he was out of baseball by 1983.
Still, while Reggie Jackson's five home runs in the '77 World Series have understandably obscured everything else about that particular October Classic, it should be remembered that Reggie Smith hit three dingers for the Dodgers in that Series, thus setting the record for most home runs hit by guys named Reggie in a single World Series. Not only will that record probably stand forever, but it's one more example of how the 70s were clearly the most bad-ass decade in baseball history.