|Just keep your mouth shut, Reggie||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on July 16, 2012
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Jackson, an employee of the New York Yankees, said that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez’s career numbers are “clouded” by his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Jackson went on to say that several players, including Phil Niekro, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Don Sutton, the late Kirby Puckett and the recently deceased Gary Carter should all not have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Jackson has received much scrutiny for these comments, and he was even banned temporarily from the Yankees. He was told not to show up last Sunday night in Boston because he would have been a media distraction.
Reggie does talk a lot.
Photo by Keith Allison, used under creative commons license.
Though he’s now back with the team, it’s very strange what compelled Jackson to make these comments. The Yankees have been very good to him over his career. Though some believe he should be wearing an Oakland A’s cap in the Hall of Fame, he instead chose a Yankees cap for his plaque due to his love for the organization.
Concerning A-Rod, everything he said was true. He’s correct that Rodriguez’s career stats will be clouded based on steroid use. However, as a Yankees employee, he could have said that A-Rod is still an incredibly talented player and is arguably a Hall of Famer even with the drug use.
Everyone knows that A-Rod’s Hall of Fame candidacy will be heavily debated. You would think though that he would have the support of those within his franchise. But in this case, Jackson threw A-Rod under the bus.
Maybe there was a hint of jealousy involved. Jackson hit 563 career home runs without taking any performance-enhancing substances (that we know about, of course), while Rodriguez has 642 career long balls, though many of these were aided by illegal drugs.
Sure, Jackson was merely responding truthfully to a question he was asked, but there certainly could have been ways to deflect that into protecting one of the faces of the franchise.
While the A-Rod comments sparked controversy, Jackson’s questioning of fellow Hall of Famers egregiously crosses the line. Yes, Jackson is a Hall of Famer who is regarded as one of the top 50 players of all time, but he has no right to fault other Hall of Famers who maybe don’t have as impressive a resume.
Of the players he mentioned, each is a legitimate Hall of Famer. Even so, it’s the writers -- not former players -- who determine who gets voted into Cooperstown.
Don Sutton and Phil Niekro are both 300-game winners. Bert Blyleven is fifth on the career strikeout list with 3,701. Jim Rice had 11 20-plus home runs seasons and was an eight-time All-Star. Kirby Puckett ended his 12-year career with a .318 lifetime batting average.
All of these players earned their Cooperstown plaque. However, for Jackson to mention the name “Gary Carter” the way he did was wrong on so many levels. Carter passed away in mid-February after losing a hard-fought yet painful battle with brain cancer.
Not only was Carter one of the game’s top offensive and defensive catchers of all-time, but the man also just passed away a few months ago. It was very inconsiderate for Jackson to say what he said.
What was said was said, and Jackson was forced to pay the price. Though this whole controversy will likely just blow over, it could have all been avoided if Reggie just kept his mouth shut.