By Blaidd Drwg
I think Reggie Jackson just needs to stop talking. He recently had some things to say about a number of subjects in a recent Sports Illustrated interview. First off, he decided to comment about Alex Rodriguez:
“Al’s a very good friend,” Jackson said of the New York Yankees third baseman in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. “But I think there are real questions about his numbers. As much as I like him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his records.”
If someone such as Rodriguez or Bonds or anyone else that has been linked to PED use is voted into the Hall by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, Jackson predicts there will be a boycott.
“If any of those guys get in, no Hall of Famer will attend,” Jackson told SI.
Ok fine, I have no problem that he believes that no HOFers will attend if someone who was actually caught with using or admits to using steroids gets elected. I however, don’t believe it is the case since most of the HOFers make a ton of money at the various autograph sessions held during election weekend. I also don’t like the “admitted usage clouds some of his records” line. We know that there was a rampant use of greenies in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which happens to encompass most of Reggie’s prime years. We are just about sure that Hank Aaron used them (although has never actually admitted it, but he doesn’t deny it either), so wouldn’t that mean the record was tainted anyway?
Where it gets interesting is when he was asked about Andy Pettitte:
Jackson, 66, left the door open a bit for himself in regards to Andy Pettitte. He thinks the Yankees’ left-hander eventually will be voted into the Hall, making Pettitte a different case compared to other alleged or admitted users.
“The question is going to be a guy like Andy Pettitte, who admitted that he got involved for a while, but who is so universally respected in the game,” Jackson told SI. “I think he’ll get in, but there will be a lot of (members) who won’t go.”
Jackson seemed to indicate to SI that if Pettitte were inducted into the Hall he still may attend.
“He’s an awfully good friend,” Jackson said. “I’ve known Andy since he was 20. I’ll leave it there.”
Maybe I am reading this wrong, but it sure sounds like Reggie is saying that it is OK to elect someone who has admitted to using steroids as long as they are well liked by people in the game of baseball. So basically, Bonds, ARod, Clemens and Palmiero – you are all out because we never liked you. Andy Pettitte, come on in because you are actually a nice guy.
Where he really pissed me off was when he got to the part about the current Hall of Fame enshrines:
“I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer,” Jackson told SI. “I didn’t see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice, I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer.”
OK, I am fine with Sutton, Niekro and Rice not being HOFers. Sutton and Niekro were compilers and Rice had a pretty short peak, oh, sort of like Reggie’s one time teammate, Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter. Funny how Reggie does not mention him. Puckett was probably borderline, but he was still putting up an OPS+ of around 130 when he retired at age 35 from glaucoma. I do think had Puckett played even 3 or 4 more years at around league average, he would have gone from borderline to solid HOF selection, so we will forgive that one. Gary Carter – one of the 10 best catchers to play the game not a HOFer? He unfortunately played in the same era as Johnny Bench and he played most of his prime in Montreal. If either of those 2 situations had not happened, Carter would be remembered in a better light.
And for the finale:
Jackson didn’t think Bert Blyleven should be voted in, either.
“Blyleven wasn’t even the dominant pitcher of his era; it was Jack Morris,” Jackson said.
So many things wrong with that statement. Blyleven was 5 years older and had already racked up 122 wins before Jack Morris became a semi-regular on the Tigers roster in 1978, which, just based on the historical numbers for pitchers, meant that 1970-1978 would be Blyleven’s prime years and 1979-1992 were his decline years. Just a quick and dirty look at Morris and Blyleven between 1979 and 1992:
Blyleven did miss an entire season with an injury in 1991 and came back in 1992 at age 42 with little success and then retired. Morris has the edge in IP and Wins, which you would expect from a pitcher 5 years younger during that range, but Blyleven was actually as good, if not better than Morris over the 13 year period.
Then again, we all know the best pitcher of that era was Dave Stieb anyway.