Reggie Jackson, dramatic hitter, lousy rationalist

I’ve never been the biggest ARod supporter out there, but Reggie’s asinine comments simply are based upon his level of friendship, nothing more. Which is as flimsy a basis for which to make a HOF debate about as there is. Look, if you (the HOF voters) want to universally keep out every admitted user, fine. Just be consistent. If you are going to try to discount a portion of any player’s career to try to guesstimate what their productivity would have been sans PED’s, good luck, friend, as that’s a fool’s errand.

There are guys who probably (definitely?) deserve HOF consideration, if not induction, who will be kept on the outside due to some whisper campaign. Guys like Jeff Bagwell (see related stories here), Jim Edmonds (as I wrote about here for ESPN). What’s their status going to rest upon? Their likeability? Jim Rice knows a thing or two about the absence of likeability with regards to one’s candidacy.

The PED discussion/debate is not going away. Period. Having guys like Reggie espouse garbled ramblings based not on logic or facts, but on his degree of friendshipitudeness, further clouds an already gray area. Me, I say vote for the best players, period. No asterisks. Historians and fans know/think whatever they want to know or think anyways. And, by the way, stuff from known/admitted PED users is already in the HOF. Maybe not their plaques, but represented, so spare me the moralizing. Remember, that building in Cooperstown, NY, is officially called the “National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum”.

Back to Reggie for a minute, lest I veer off too far into Tangentville… Is Reggie THE voice of the HOF electorate? Is he the one they look to as a leader, as their representative? I’d find that hard to believe. I’d like to imagine that they would sooner stand behind more thoughtful, reserved, upper-tier HOF’ers like a Hank Aaron, but that’s probably me projecting.  So when Reggie pukes out this beauty, I have to wonder if the rest of the electorate is reading it over their breakfast while muttering expletives:

With players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year, Jackson added he is prepared to skip the induction ceremony if they or any other players linked to steroid use make the cut.

According to him, he won’t be alone, either.

If any of those guys get in, no Hall of Famer will attend,” said Jackson, now a special adviser to the Yankees.


Oh, and Reggie, how do you feel about some of the others elected in the last decade or so?

The former slugger also said he was unhappy with a number of players he feels are undeserving of being in the Hall of Fame who have recently been inducted — including Gary Carter, the late former Met.

I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer,” Jackson said. “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.”

Reggie, you’re becoming an intolerable old d’bag. To say those guys didn’t deserve it is patently absurd. Hell, you yourself were largely a one-dimentional player. The HOF has become more inclusive, but that doesn’t mean these guys don’t deserve it. Sure, you hit 563 home runs, many of them of the dramatic sort (but only 18 career post-season HR in 17 series over 11 years). Dude, we love you for that. But you are also the all-time leader in strikeouts, your career OPS ranks 189th, your career slugging (an important metric for a one-trick pony) is merely .490, good enough for 134th all time. You were great, but not SO great to cast out your peers. Shame on you for thinking so much of yourself that you felt it appropriate to disparage your peers and fellow HOF inductees.

Reggie, stick to signing autographs and waving to your fans. When someone sticks a mic in your face and asks you to weigh in on things like the HOF, do so, but only after considering what the hell you are saying. You are a member of the most elite fraternity in baseball. Don’t bring it down by disparaging your fellow members, because in doing so, you are only bringing down yourself.

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20 thoughts on “Reggie Jackson, dramatic hitter, lousy rationalist

  1. I'm sure there were plenty of HOF members from the 50s and 60s who didn't think Reggie belonged either.

  2. Guys like Reggie Jackson and others already in the Hall of Fame can set themselves apart from an ego statement by saying they did it clean. But they did not (greenies, etc) and if they played in the PED era, would have been sorely tested themselves. Any HOF member spewing anti-PED hate is self-serving and a tool to make their own accomplishments look better. Said it a million times: The HOF is and should be about the best players of their generation. If it does not include Clemens, Bonds and Pete Rose, then the whole idea is null and void and the institution useless.

  3. It's fine with me if Reggie wants to boycott the HOF. I already do that. Granted, I live 3,000 miles away from the place and I'm not invited there annually like Reggie is. But the real reason I boycott the HOF is that it reeks of insufferable pompous self-righteousness.

    The HOF is a museum with delusions of grandeur.

  4. I was ready to type WTF before clicking for the rest of the story…

    Dunno about you, but it seems every time Reggie opens his mouth, I think just a bit less of him. He's no different from any other incumbent, trying to protect what's his, and distance himself from hoi polloi.

  5. I guess he's still trying to be the straw that stirs the drink. Of course the "level of friendship" changes how he, or anyone feels, about specific players. It's partly why I wish the list that Alex was on is released in full. I think if most fans knew all the players who were on PED's they would start to care a lot less about who did what and when. It's MLB's, or Selig's, fault for not dealing with this sooner and now we'll have to suffer through a decade of debate about each HOF eligible player who might have taken PED's. ugh

      • I REALLY wish they would just out the other 200 or so players on the same list as ARod – if we're going to talk fair and not fair – that is at the TOP of my list. Since we KNOW there were a LOT of players on the same list as Alex, but they're getting a pass – IMHO, that is a dang good argument for giving Alex the very same pass.

        otoh – out them, and then the playing field is level – and you can include or exclude THE ENTIRE GROUP. Either one works. Choosing on likeability and degree of friendship degrades the Hall more than anything else possible.

        • Um, Jay.

          Understand that there's a difference between those who doped and the 200 or so people who may have tested positive in 2003. The only steroids doping test in common use in 2003 was T/E testing, which is notoriously inaccurate. Arguably, this test method was fit for the purpose of the study, which was to determine whether a large population of baseball players was using steroids — large enough to justify drug testing. The test method was not designed to be fit for the purpose of accusing individual athletes of doping.

          So if you "out" those other 200 or so players, you will almost certainly "out" players who never doped (false positives), and you will not "out" players who did dope and still passed the test (false negatives).

          A-Rod is a confessed PED user. Yes, it's unfair that his confidential test results were disclosed to the public. But you're not going to improve matters by violating every other player's right of confidentiality..

          • Ok, Larry. I see your point. But does anyone think A-Rod would have "confessed" if he hadn't been outed first?

            In that case, I'd have to give A-Rod a free pass, along with Reggie's better friend (who also confessed to HGH) Andy.

            Not that the HOF cares what I have to say. I'm not Mr. Jackson.

          • Can I get at least one "sciencespeak"?

            It's an untold story, but much of the history of PED use in baseball is based on (1) Radomski testimony, (2) McNamee testimony and (3) 2003 drug testing. This is reasonably good evidence if you're trying to determine whether baseball had a problem, but it's largely unreliable if what you're trying to do is name names.

            Jason, the T/E testing REALLY is crap. It is used today only as a screening test, to determine which samples to test using more reliable (and expensive) methods. Forget for the moment the problem of false negative results, which remains endemic. The estimates I've read indicate that T/E testing might throw off as many as 15% false positives.

    • I think Reggie's sobriquet needs to be changed from Straw that Stirs the Drink to Stick that Stirs the Muck. You'd think a guy that smart would have learned, at some point, to shut up around reporters.