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Published: July 12, 2012
Reggie Jackson was never one to keep his opinions to himself and that is one of his attributes that has endeared him to his fans and made him hated even more by his detractors. So it comes as no surprise that Mr. October has ruffled more than a few feathers with his latest number of one-liners.
The difference is that we now live in this softcore politically correct universe and cannot take even a hint of criticism.
Back when Jackson made a scribe from ‘Sport’ magazine famous with his barroom “I’m the straw that stirs the drink” talk, there were no banishments from the front office or the media making sure that those effected by it were not too hurt. The 1970s were the era of gas lines and the Son of Sam, so some ballplayer talking smack was laughed off as another spoiled rich guy thinking who he is.
Fast forward a few decades and now the shit hits the fan when the same guy says something that is entirely accurate – once again. If you’re too young to have experienced the mid-to-late-70s Bronx Bombers, the team was a strong one but did not win two consecutive World Series championships until Jackson was signed as a free agent. Roy White was a nice player, but he didn’t hit three home runs in one game en route to a title.
Jackson was absolutely the straw that stirred the drink and at least give him credit for having the balls to say what he felt was the truth. Sometimes the unpopular phrase needs to be said and the team survived after the article ran. As a matter of fact, the Yankees went downhill after Jackson left for the Angels a few years later and the late, great George Steinbrenner always admitted that one of his biggest mistakes as an owner was not re-signing the slugger.
So Jackson gives an honest opinion in a Sports Illustrated article that players – including current Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte – have questionable Hall of Fame credentials due to their admittance of using performance-enhancing drugs. As an alum of Cooperstown, he has every right to voice his opinion on the very topical and disputed subject. Regardless if you agree or disagree with Jackson’s assessment, he is a legitimate Hall of Famer and should be consulted on the players who are either inducted in with him or one day may be.
Speaking of the ones already there, Jackson is again one hundred percent accurate on his assessment of some of the players that have made their way into the hallowed halls in the quant upstate, New York hamlet. Let’s take Gary Carter, for instance. The late catcher was indeed a great player, there’s no question about it. But he wasn’t even the best player on his own team can be argued. In Montreal, Andre Dawson was the main weapon and in New York, one can speak up for Darryl Strawberry as the Mets’ main offensive catalyst. Besides that, Carter was a .262 career hitter in 19 season. Hardly eye-popping numbers and oddly enough, the same average that Jackson owns. The big difference is the 563 home runs and 1,702 RBI. (Carter had 324/1,225 – excellent for a catcher but not the ‘automatic’ numbers.)
If you are not even the best player on your team, then you certainly are not the best player of your era. Hence, the HOF has become watered down when the best of the best was the early criteria. If you need any further proof, Cy Young had to wait a year to get in (1937) and he had won 511 games and been retired since 1911.
What is even worse is how the Yankees reacted and caved by keeping Jackson, who is employed by the organization as a special advisor, away from the team to placate Rodriguez. Then they have him release a BS apology:
“In trying to convey my feelings about a few issues that I am passionate about, I made the mistake of naming some specific players. This was inappropriate and unfair to those players, some of which are very close friends of mine. I think there are ways to speak from the heart without hurting those people, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t take greater care in expressing my views.
“I have been proactively reaching out to make personal apologies to those within the Hall of Fame community that I offended, and to the Yankees organization for any disruption that I caused in the clubhouse. I continue to have a strong relationship with the club, and look forward to continuing my role with the team. As always, I remain dedicated to the great game of baseball.”
Totally ridiculous that someone who has done as much as Jackson would have to bow down and eat his words. The man had every right to say what he did and if anyone has an issue with it, we’re all still waiting for your side of the argument.
Tagged with: Alex Rodriguez, andy pettitte, Barroom, Bronx Bombers, Consecutive World Series, Correct Universe, Fellow Hall, Game En Route, George Steinbrenner, Hall Of Fame, Hall Of Famers, Honest Opinion, performance enhancing drugs, Reggie Jackson, Roy White, Shit Hits The Fan, Son Of Sam, Sport Magazine, Strong One, World Series Championships