What Is Clutch?? Horry And These Guys Know Something About That

By Tony McClean
Updated: June 21, 2005


Robert Horry

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — It happens every spring, summer, winter, and fall. The money is on the table and someone takes his or her game to another level. The most common phrase is “Big Time Players Make Big Time Plays”.

While watching San Antonio’s Robert Horry hit another one of his semi annual big shots in the postseason, it made me think about the folks who make their presence felt when the big lights and the pressure is on.

One sports-talk show host went so far as to say Horry should be considered as a future Hall Of Famer. While that argument could be discussed another day, we’re here to talk about some of the most clutch performers in recent memory.

This isn’t a definitive list, but I’m sure you’ll agree that like Mr. Horry, these folks shined brighty in the postseason spotlight.


Reggie Reggie Jackson: “Mr. October” set the standard for performing in the clutch. He did it for Oakland, New York, and Anaheim. A two-time World Series MVP (1973, 1977) is best known for his 3-homer performance against the Dodgers in Game 6 of the ’77 Series. A career .262 hitter, Jackson hit .278 during his postseason career including a .357 mark in the Fall Classic. He also hit 18 career postseason dingers including 10 in the World Series. That’s the reason why he has a bust in Cooperstown.

Dave Dave Stewart: Between 1987-90, Stewart literally had 20-20 vision. He averaged 21 wins during that 4-year stretch and he didn’t disappoint during the postseason. The World Series MVP for the World Champion A’s, Stewart’s pitching and trademark stare was a postseason fixture in the late 80′s and early 90′s. Despite not winning a Cy Young during his run, Stewart consistently defeated his East Coast counterpart Roger Clemens in the ALCS. An 8-0 career mark in the ALCS will attest to that.


Franco Franco Harris: This Pittsburgh Steeler was much more than just the man who caught the “Immaculate Reception”. In 13 career postseason games, Harris ran for 1,044 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. While fellow Hall Of Famer Jim Brown may have been critical of his running style, Franco’s numbers was one of the main reasons why the Steelers have four Vince Lombardi trophies. Harris wasn’t as fast as O.J. Simpson or as dynamic as Barry Sanders, but you could always count on him during the playoffs.

Charles Charles Haley: The Bill Russell of his day. He has five Super Bowl rings: Two with the San Francisco 49ers and three with the Dallas Cowboys. It seemed like the talented Mr. Haley was always playing for someone on the last Sunday of the football season. While his temperament may have rubbed some media folks the wrong way, one thing could not be denied, Ol’ No. 94 was a winner in the truest sense.


Grant Grant Fuhr: While Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier got the hype, the true stabilizing force of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty may have be the man they called “Cha-Cha”. Over a 10-year period, Fuhr led the Oilers to five Stanley Cup championships between 1984 and 1990. Without a doubt, his best year was in 1987 accumulating a league-leading 4,304 minutes played and 40 wins. Fuhr also backstopped Canada to two Canada Cup titles, in 1984 and ’87.