straw that stirs the drink

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straw that stirs the drink

The most valuable or important person or thing in a system. The phrase is usually attributed to baseball player Reggie Jackson. In this law firm, Ed may think that he's the straw that stirs the drink, but there are plenty of other lawyers that we could replace him with. Ever since Jeannie found out she got the lead in the play, she's been acting like the straw that stirs the drink.
See also: drink, stir, straw, that
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
He is the straw that stirs the drink for this team.
"Casting is the straw that stirs the drink, and the casting these last few seasons has been stellar.
And NACDS, as never before, is the straw that stirs the drink.
The football program is the straw that stirs the drink.
On arriving, he immediately spouted off to the press that he was "the straw that stirs the drink." Then he expanded on the theme by dismissing star catcher Thurman Munson's ability to motivate and "carry" the team: "Munson thinks he can be the straw that stirs the drink, but he can only stir it bad."
While "American Idol" is ostensibly geared toward spotlighting the talent onstage, there's little doubt as to who's the straw that stirs the drink.