Reggie Jackson was holding court in the bright Northern California sunshine, engaging a small cadre of newspaper and radio folks around the batting cage at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. It was Oct. 21, 1973, and in a few hours Jackson’s Oakland A’s would host the Mets in Game 7 of the World Series.
“Game 7, do or die,” Jackson said, smiling. “I don’t know who’s going to win. But I know this: Someone on one of these teams is going to do something that’ll be remembered forever — good or bad. That’s Game 7.”
As was Reggie’s wont, he would volunteer his own services for that duty, hitting a two-run home run and leaping onto home plate with both spikes for good measure, helping the A’s to a 5-2 win and a second-straight championship. It was good enough to earn him MVP of the Series even if he only hit .240 in it.
That’s the magic of Game 7. That’s the wonder. That’s what the Rangers have before them Monday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., when they’ll try to spoil the Hurricanes’ unblemished home playoff record, when they’ll hope to squeeze into the Eastern Conference finals — halfway to the Cup.