Reggie Jackson on Hall of Fame: Gary Carter, Kirby Puckett, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven don’t belong there

David Brown

Reggie Jackson has opinions, don't you know? And he recently expressed some of them to Sports Illustrated reporter Phil Taylor. For instance, Jackson said that fellow Hall of Famers such as Gary Carter, Kirby Puckett, Phil Niekro, Don Sutton, Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven don't belong in Cooperstown. (Is that all? Presumably, Reggie does back his own status in Cooperstown. It's OK he's there.)

For the record, Mr. October against Niekro's knuckler went 1 for 17 with five strikeouts for his career. Against Blyleven, he hit .214/.264/.397, with six homers and 49 strikeouts in 140 plate appearances. Pretty poor. Against Sutton, he was .261/.382/.435 with two homers in 55 plate appearances — not bad! It proves little, but it does make ya' go "hmmm."

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Jackson also asserts that Hank Aaron is the legitimate home run champion (not Barry Bonds) and Alex Rodriguez's admission of steroid use "does cloud some of his records." Andy Pettitte, for that matter, "will get in" to the Hall of Fame, but a lot of Cooperstown members "won't go" to his induction because he admitted to using PEDs. In fact:

Jackson's view on whether players linked to performance-enhancing drugs should be inducted into the Hall of Fame: "If any of those guys get in, no Hall of Famer will attend."

Well, I can think of several Hall of Famers who would attend. Niekro, Sutton, Rice and Blyleven would go just to stick it to Jackson, who is being kind of a jerk by saying after the fact they don't belong. Reggie has made threats before, but thankfully Lt. Frank Drebin interfered before he could kill the queen.

There's no way for Jackson to know that "no Hall of Famer" would attend a Cooperstown induction for, say, Barry Bonds. Even if Jackson's statement is based on actual evidence, like some kind of straw poll taken at a recent gathering of Hall of Famers, a large-scale boycott of the Hall of Fame by its own members over perceptions about steroids just ain't happening. Hank Aaron, for example, wouldn't do that. And he's got a lot more pull than Reggie.

And this is a guy, Jackson, who thinks Andy Pettitte (53.8 Wins Above Replacement on is a Hall of Famer but Phil Niekro (91.7 bWAR — 10th all time for pitchers) and Bert Blyleven (90.7 — 12th) aren't. Whatever, Reggie.

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Rather than going into all of the individual arguments on Carter, Puckett, Niekro, Sutton, Rice and Blyleven, I'd just ask: Why, Reggie? Why bring them up at all? We're not going to kick them out for steroids. We're not going to kick them out, period. Now get off Reggie's lawn!

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