SAN FRANCISCO - On my first trip to the old Yankee Stadium, a man named Reginald Martinez Jackson came to the plate in Game 6 of the 1978 World Series.
Jackson, later nicknamed Mr. October, hit three home runs, one each off Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Burt Hooton, Elias Sosa and Charlie Hough, in an 8-4 win as the champagne flowed.
A year ago we saw Albert Pujols hit three off relievers Alexi Ogando, Mike Gonzalez and Darren Oliver as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers 16-7 in Game 3 of the World Series.
Cuddly, 240-pounder Pablo Sandoval lifted the curtain on this year's World Series with three homers as the San Franciso Giants beat the Detroit Togers 8-3 in the opener of best-of-seven contest Wednesday night.
We didn't get to see Babe Ruth go deep three times in the World Series, first in 1926 against the Cardinals (two off Flint Rhem, one off Art Reinhart) and two years later in the 7-3 clincher against St. Louis (twice off Bill Sherdel, once off Pete Alexander).
But we have to rate Sandoval's as the most impressive of the five three-homer games.
It wasn't off an all-star and two relievers like Jackson. It wasn't off three relievers like Pujols. Both times Ruth did it, he hit two off starters who won 20 games and a reliever.
The Kung Fu Panda, however, homered in his first two at-bats against Justin Verlander, only the second man to win a Rookie of the Year Award and a Cy Young Award.
Sandoval homered against Verlander on an 0-2 pitch to centre with two outs in the first and then again to left in the third. His third homer came against reliever Al Alburquerque.
"I'm a fan too, when you see something like that it makes you appreciate the man's talents," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I know I'll never forget it."
Ruth and Jackson achieved the feat in their first three at-bats, but each walked, too.
Sandoval is first player to homer in his first three plate appearances of a Series game.
When I read Dave Anderson in the New York Times after my first visit to Yankee Stadium I discovered Jackson had only swung the bat three times.
Sandoval swung five times with two foul balls.
"The home runs were really hit," said Bochy. "Am sure he looks back at two years ago when we won and he wasn't happy that he didn't play that much.
"At that time we had to make a change."
Juan Uribe played third when the Giants beat the Rangers in 2010. Sandoval had three just at-bats all Series.
GIANT TIGER SERIES? NOT SO MUCH
Walking into AT&T Park Wednesday afternoon to see Game 1 of the World Series, I recalled the Earthquake Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's in 1989.
Most Series have earned a nickname: the I-70 Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals in 1985, the New York Yankees-New York Mets Subway Series in 2000 and the Team of the Decade Deciding 1999 Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Yankees.
How the Detroit Tigers meeting the Giants come to be known?
Why the Giant Tiger Series of course.
Best to phone a Giant Tiger store with this wonderful idea to see how business has picked up? Were store workers excited wearing Giants black and orange or Tiger blue and white? Were T-shirts and hats flying off shelves? Who were employees rooting for?
"I don't know who is playing, I don't follow baseball," said a polite woman named Cindy from the Ajax store.
Well, it's San Francisco and Detroit, do you know the nicknames of the teams?
"Red Wings?" guessed Cindy.
Told that the Giants and Tigers were playing in a Giant Tiger Series, Cindy said "now that has a tidy ring to it."
More phone calls to stores in Cambridge, St. Thomas and Windsor, which is, after all, Tiger territory.
Ah, not such a good reaction.
People didn't grasp the cute concept, or thought I was trying to raise sponsor money for a local sandlot team. They told me to phone head office with complaints and a couple even slammed down the phone.
The most memorable call was to the Cranbrook, B.C. Giant Tiger store.
"Look, I don't know who Bob Elliott is, I don't read the Toronto Sun and I don't follow baseball. Good bye."
Maybe this Giant Tigers Series wasn't such a good idea.
One thing is for sure ... no shopping trips to Cranbrook any more.
AT&T HR FACTOIDS
It was only the second three-homer game at AT&T Park since Kevin Elster homered three times the night the park opened in 2000. This season, left handed hitters managed only 34 homers ... for both teams.
In 71 games and 259 at-bats from May 2 until Sept. 18, Sandoval homered three times. Verlander had not allowed a homer to a Giants hitter in 55 at-bats. After 12 homers in the regular season, Sandoval has six this post-season.
"He's an outstanding hitter, he hit one up, he hit a ball down, he had an unbelievable World Series night that they'll be talking about for years," said Tiger manager Jim Leyland.
Right-hander Gaylord Perry threw out the first pitch accompanied by Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda and McCovey. The announcer said the Giants franchise had more Hall of Famers than any organization? More than the Yankees? Are they counting Mays more than once?
How did infielder Charles Culberson do this year anyway? Culberson, 23, hit .336 with two homers and 12 RBIs this season at Triple-A Colorado Springs after being acquired by the Colorado Rockies. Why do I care, you ask? Why should a Rockies fan care?
The Giants sent Culberson to Colorado for former Blue Jays infielder Marco Scutaro, that's why. Scutaro started 59 games for the Giants, hitting .362, and then won the NLCS MVP trophy with a record 15 hits.
ONLY IN S.F.
Took a cab to a restaurant the other night. Saw a tambourine in the back seat, so I picked it up and laid down a few licks. The driver began playing a bugle.