This article is part of The Fan Manifesto
Over the course of our lifetime, there are always those embarrassing foot in the mouth situations we deeply regret. Sometimes for years we are haunted by the idiocy we sprayed during that fateful moment that to this day dance in our conscience.
Hall of fame hockey player Brett Hull had his forgettable day when he tried to convince us that Adolf Hitler wasn’t really that bad of a guy. The career of announcer/bookie Jimmy the Greek was ruined when he channeled his inner Charles Darwin with his own controversial take on the theory of evolution. Even John Lennon of the iconic Beatles caused a global stir comparing the band’s popularity to that of Jesus Christ.
However, in terms of the ever spewing mouth of Reggie Jackson, the aforementioned “regrettable” nature doesn’t apply to his statements.
After a storied career of tweaking teammates and opponents, the 66-year-old Yankee employee must have been bored with the limelight not being shined in his direction on a regular basis. Apparently, the adulation involved with the annual Yankee Old Timer’s day and showings of The Naked Gun on the USA Channel simply weren’t enough for him.
So this time Mr. October decided to take unprovoked shots at his peers and in one instance his own friend.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Jackson explained his concerns about Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte entering the Hall of Fame, due to their admittance of using performance enhancing drugs.
“Al’s a very good friend” Jackson said via theThe Star-Ledger “But I think there are real questions about his numbers.”
Unfair? Not at all.
Completely stupid to say as you both share the same employer? Absolutely.
In the self-centered mind of Jackson he wasn’t even rebelling against the steroid era. He was merely pointing out that these tainted players weren’t on the same clean and level playing field as him.
Because it always comes back to Reggie.
After insulting his “friend,” one would think that he would zip his lip and move on to other topics he is well versed in like October 18, 1977. You know, the day where he hit three home runs in a World Series game? He loves talking about that.
But Jackson veered into a different direction. Apparently, he believes the Hall of Fame has lowered its bar for acceptance over the past few years. Sure, the man is entitled to his opinion, but the names he mentioned once again deliver the loudmouth into deserved controversy.
“I didn't see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn't see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer”, rambled Jackson. “I didn't see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn't see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer.”
Ahhh, where do we begin with this nugget of insensitivity and hypocrisy?
His first two subjects of criticism are no longer here to defend themselves, Gary Carter being put in the ground less than six months ago. Being one of the dearly departed doesn’t put you above criticism, but like the late Milton Berle says, “Pick your spots, baby.”
As for Sutton and Niekro, every baseball mind knows that they were compilers. They did some things well and others not so well. But they both reached that magic pitching number of 300 wins, which ultimately granted them into the Cooperstown fraternity.
Hmmm, wait a minute…magic numbers, sub-par additional stats, Hall of Fame credentials. This sounds familiar.
Over the course of 21 years Reggie Jackson belted 563 home runs. In case you forgot what you just read, don’t fret. Reggie will repeat it for you anytime.
What he won't mention to you is his .262 career batting average (which is tied with Gary Carter). Silly Reggie will probably neglect to tell you he owns the dubious honor of striking out more than anyone in the history of baseball with 2,957 K's.
Whether, he was officially “banned” from the Yankee clubhouse for his comments is irrelevant. His words made news. You are reading this because he spoke. That’s what his intention was all along. Or was it?
After everyone had breathed his buffoonery in, Jackson said:
“I am very disappointed [the Carter comments are] out there and I am embarrassed.” He went on to say (via the New York Post) “I am calling [Carter’s wife] to apologize for inappropriate comments while I was talking to friends.’’
In his ever so nauseatingly smooth way, Jackson attempted to rectify a crisis without taking blame. The comments weren’t supposed to come out because he was talking to friends. One of whom works for Sports Illustrated and was doing a piece on him.
He never regretted the comments he made and of course in the end, it was all about Reggie.