"He'd give you the shirt off his back. Of course he'd call a press conference to announce it."
As Old Timer festivities wrapped up at Yankee Stadium last week, a good friend of mind decided it was time to take a few shots at a couple of New York legends.
"How many of those guys hate the current New York Yankees? I mean, really, between money and steroids I bet most, if not all, those guys wish they weren't even there at the new Yankee Stadium," he said.
Of course he isn't a fan of the Yankees. While he knows baseball well, I took his commentary with a grain of salt.
That was until I experienced that 'aha' moment when the Sports Illustrated story on Reggie Jackson broke.
It seems that Reggie has a few problems with Major League Baseball. Regardless of being a celebrated personality who at 66 years of age has a highly visible role as a special adviser for the team, Reggie took a few shots at his contemporaries and Alex Rodriguez.
Jackson told SI, "I didn't see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer, 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,"
Yet Jackson didn't stop there. "[Rodriguez is] a very good friend," Jackson told 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 any of those [accused steroid users] get in, no Hall of Famer will attend."
As a result of these comments, the New York Yankees have asked Reggie to stay away from the team. He was curiously absent in Boston over the weekend and according to ESPN may not be returning to the team this summer.
Since the incident, Jackson has been relatively mum on the SI interview. It can only be speculated as to Jackson's motivation. Nonetheless, his timing was anything but impeccable given baseball lost Gary Carter to cancer less than six months ago. A member of the New York Mets from 1985 to1989, Carter is a legend to New York baseball fans.
Carter's former teammate Wally Backman was outraged. "He is going a long ways saying something like that," said Backman to the New York Daily News. "Especially with a guy like Gary and his status. It's not only the player, it's the person, too. That's going overboard."
"To me, it's a disgrace to the Yankee family with him saying that."
The reality is it may be foolish for Jackson to have criticized Alex Rodriguez but he capable of defending himself. The jabs at Carter and Puckett were simply in bad taste. It would have been one thing for Jackson to have said he was the better player but to say neither Carter not Puckett deserved the call of the Hall is simply disingenuous.
When will the Yankees see Reggie again? Who knows. But when they do, it will hopefully be accompanied by more carefully crafted comments.
Sources: Yahoo! Sports
Robert Watkins is former investment professional and partner. A native New Yorker until 9/11, he considers Pa. his adoptive home. A passionate Yankees fan and Pennsylvania sports enthusiast, Robert is a frequent contributor to Yahoo! Sports and News.