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Reggie Jackson doesn’t think Puckett, Carter, Sutton, Niekro or Rice should be in the Hall of Fame

Jul 5, 2012, 2:59 PM EDT

Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson spoke with Phil Taylor of Sports Illustrated recently. And, in addition to voicing a bunch of strong opinions about players who have used PEDs — he thinks if a PED guy got elected to the Hall of Fame, “no members would attend” the induction — he talks about some of his contemporaries’ Hall of Fame bonafides:

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.”

On whether Bert Blyleven should have been elected into the Hall of Fame: “No. No, no, no, no. Blyleven wasn’t even the dominant pitcher of his era, it was Jack Morris.”

Jack Morris dominated media coverage for starting pitchers of his era, sure, but he was far from the dominant pitcher of his era. Of course it’s Reggie Jackson we’re talking about here, so perhaps that’s the criteria he considers most important.

As  for the other guys: he’s crazy pants on Carter and Puckett, each of whom belong under most people’s conception of the Hall of Fame. As for Sutton, Niekro, Rice and Blyleven: hey, if you’re a small hall guy, I totally understand keeping them out. And on a couple of them, even if you’re a big hall guy you can point to several others that may be more deserving.

But if you’re a small hall guy — and Jackson seems to be saying that by virtue of his appeal to “dominance” and his obvious high standards — you have no business touting Jack Morris’ greatness at all. I mean, I think Jim Rice’s Hall of Fame case was totally weak, and Jim Rice’s Hall of Fame case screens Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame case’s phone calls.

  1. pjmitch - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    But his .263 lifetime batting average certainly qualifies him to be there and shoot his mouth off about others.

    • - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      I guess we’re throwing 563 homeruns and 1702 RBI out the window?

      • braddavery - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM

        I hope you are kidding, considering the amazing stats of some of these HOFers Jackson threw out.

      • jetstizzi85 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM

        The man struck out more than he had total number of hits….yet still feels the need to mouth off about other HOFers? Puckett was a .318 career of the fastest to 1000 and 2000 hits…

      • eglooney - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

        lol – AND, I’d probably rather see Greg Luzinski in the OF over Reggie!

        Talk about “elite” ballplayers. The ONLY dimension he excelled in was how far he could hit the ball!

  2. Kevin Gillman - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    I guess Reggie doesn’t like Phil Niekro’s Knuckleball, and Bert Blyleven’s awesome Curveball?

    • pmcenroe - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      Jackson’s career vs. Blyleven in 140 PA– .214/.264/.397


      • Kevin Gillman - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM

        LOL…now we know why.

    • thefalcon123 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      Well, since Reggie was 1 for 17 in his career against Niekro and struck out 35% of the time while boasting a .214 BA against Blyleven (the pitcher he faced the most in his career)…I’d say you are correct.

      • pinkfloydprism - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        Jackson is proving to be a blow hard. Is he taking over for Schilling?

      • Kevin Gillman - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:36 PM

        Blyleven may not have played on any good teams, but he was dominant. He’s still one of the league leaders in strikeouts. While Morris had a great career too, Blyleven has more wins than Jack too.

  3. largebill - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Obviously, someone can play the game at the highest levels and still be woefully ignorant of the games history. A couple of the guys Reggie wouldn’t put in had as good or better Hall of Fame cases than he did. Jackson went in quickly because he did one thing very well – hit home runs. Studies have shown that BBWAA voters more easily understand lopsided greatness. A guy who is very good to great in all facets of the game and who perform relatively evenly year in year out will not stand out like a one-dimensional player who is high on all time list in one category or one with a few phenomenal seasons early in his career. Look at Dwight Evans. He had just as legitimate a Hall of Fame case as Rice, but because their reputations were cemented early in their careers Evans was dismissed by most voters.

  4. brewcrewfan54 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Why is Reggie talking again?

    • snowbirdgothic - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      The key words in that sentence are “Reggie” and “talking”.

    • chumthumper - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      Oh, you know. It’s just Reggie being Reggie. Stick a mic in front of him and a train wreck is inevitable.

  5. AK47 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Sounds like Reggie once again fell for the bait. Also, who calls Alex Rodriguez “Al”?

    • Ben - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      I hope Alex Rodriguez calls him Betty.

      • bbk1000 - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        Talk about a no talent putz….Chevy Chase….

      • thefalcon123 - Jul 5, 2012 at 5:19 PM

        Take that back bbk1000! Mr. Chase brought us the brilliant and amazing Fletch and Vacation.

        He also brought us the much less amazing and not very brilliant Fletch Lives, Christmas, European and Vegas Vactions. And he is the one negative aspect of Community. And a reprehensible douchebag.

        Nevermind, don’t take that back.

      • ptfu - Jul 5, 2012 at 5:38 PM

        Well, he should get some credit for Three Amigos and Caddyshack. But yeah, he’s tied to a lot of stinkers too.

      • realgone2 - Jul 6, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        He was good in fletch

  6. thefalcon123 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Jesus Reggie… Granted, I agree with him about Rice. I think Puckett belongs, but I understand the debate (I don’t give him extra credit for the unfortunate way his career ended though, but I think still he’s a HOFer without it), same with Sutton.

    But, Gary Carter is one of the top 5 or 6 catchers to ever play the game. Elite defender and a great hitter. Unless your definiation of a hall of fame catcher is “Bench and Berra ONLY”, no sane person could leave him out.

    Niekro boasted a career 115 ERA+ in more than 5000 career innings. Despite spending a majority of his career on with the Braves while they were truly abhorren, he still amassed 300+ wins. Transport him to a good team and no one would question his hall credentials for a second.

    As for Blyleven, well…you’d think Reggie would show a bit more respect for a man that struck him out a whopping 35% of the time he faced him .

    • eglooney - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      I think Pudge Rodriguez has added himself to the Bench/Berra group to form a trio of the greatest three catchers of all time.

  7. nategearhart - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Sheesh, that’d be like Mays or Aaron or Robinson saying Reggie shouldn’t be in the HOF.
    Oh, wait. Those guys have class.

    • Panda Claus - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      Holy cow, that comment is spot on.

      Reggie probably provided the one “thumbs down” himself.

    • badintent - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:37 AM

      Reggie still bitter about the fire than destroyed all his racing cars.And that no major network will hire him to cover baseball full time. If he didn’t have his “special consultant ” Yankee job, he’d be broke.As for his stupid comments, he ‘s a guy that Billy Martin was gonna beat up and Herr George sent him to get a mental and physical check up when he was hitting .208 for 3 months. He claimed he , not Thurman Munson was the glue that held the Yankees together, that’s when I knew he was certified insane.!! If you licked him in a room with T. O. and Ocho for a week, Reggie comes out wearing a white coat with straps

      • badintent - Jul 6, 2012 at 2:38 AM

        sorry , that’s locked in a room, on second thought , maybe T.O. licked Reggie butt too. damn

  8. The Dangerous Mabry - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Here’s your fact of the day:

    Reggie Jackson had 140 plate appearances vs Bert Blyleven. More than any other pitcher.

    In those 140 PA, he went .214/.264/.397, a whopping .661 OPS, and hit a total of 6 home runs off of Blyleven. He struck out 49 times in those 140 PA.

    To be fair, he didn’t fare a lot better in his 59 PA vs Jack Morris, going .222/.288/.407. He struck out in 20 of those 59.

    Phil Neikro? (SSS ALERT) In 22 PA, Reggie was .059/.273/.059. Yikes. That’s 5 Walks, 5 K, and 1 single.

    At any rate, Reggie certainly got put in his place by Blyleven throughout his career. It’s also worth noting that Jackson speaks of being the “dominant pitcher of his era” as if it’s a preliminary qualification for being in the hall. If that was the case, we’d only be able to allow one pitcher per “era” into the hall, so we’d have what…about 12 of them at this point?

  9. 78mu - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    His promotion of Morris obviates his criticism of those he thinks don’t belong there. Heck, I would say it would make anything he says suspect. I mean, he couldn’t even drop the fact that Morris won more games than any other pitcher in the 1980’s.

    C’mon Reggie. Learn the talking points before you start criticizing the election of guys like Carter or Puckett. Even a Cardinal fan like myself feels Carter and Santo deserve to be in the HOF.

  10. shawndc04 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Umm, Reggie, Jim Rice may have been a weak case, but he had a higher batting average, higher slugging percentage, and higher OPS than you did. Pretty lame opinions from someone who couldn’t carry Willie Mays’ or Hank Aaron’s jock straps.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      We can (and probably should) attack Reggie Jackson’s intellect as much as we like, but don’t make silly arguments about him not being a great ballplayer.

      Sure, Rice had higher raw rate stats, but once you adjust for things like era, and perhaps even more importantly, home ballpark, you realize that Jackson was the superior hitter. By a wide margin. He also had a substantially longer tail to his career, which leads to lower overall career rates.

      Let’s just recognize that Reggie could play ball, but probably shouldn’t talk about other players that often.

  11. spankygreen - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Aren’t we all entitled to our opinions?,,,,,,,,,,Let Mr October have his………………GO REGGIE!!!!!!!..STILL LOVE TO WATCH THE TOWERING HOMERUNS……..

    • braddavery - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      Why yes, we ARE entitled to our opinions. That kind of makes your point absurd.

  12. pisano - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Reggie has always been about Reggie, that’s why Thurman Munson and Billy Martin (among others) didn’t like him. If you want to know how good Reggie was, just ask him, but make sure you have a few hours to kill because he’ll keep talking about himself forever, what a scumbag, has been.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      Billy Martin: Judge of character. Sure, why not?

  13. DJ MC - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    I’m reading Lords of the Realm, and there are several extensive passages devoted to Reggie Jackson and his “contributions” to various meetings both of union members and between the union and the owners. There are two things I take away from the book on the subject:

    1) Asking why Reggie Jackson talks so much is like asking why fish drink so much water.

    2) Anything he says on a subject should be listened to (he can be a very intelligent, thoughtful person), but taken with a grain of salt so large they’ll name a candy bar after it.

  14. Matthew Pouliot - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    It’d take an awfully small hall to justify leaving Niekro out. Since 1900, he’s second in innings, 11th in wins and 11th in strikeouts, all with an ERA+ that’s even with Carlton’s and better than Ryan’s. Sure, he was a compiler, but he was awfully good one.

    • thefalcon123 - Jul 5, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      He “compiled” 17 wins, 300 innings and a good ERA every year while playing for some terrible Braves teams. If he didn’t play for such terrible teams, he probably would have nabbed Cy Young’s 74, 78, and 79 (he lead pitchers in WAR by a mile).

  15. buddaley - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    There is a story that someone told Mickey Rivers that Reggie was bragging about having a very high IQ, to which Mickey replied, “High IQ? Reggie can’t even spell IQ.”

  16. SmackSaw - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    The MLB HOF is a shame until Pete Rose is inducted.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:46 PM

      I know you won’t, but justify this please.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        Well for one thing, he got out almost a thousand times more than anyone else in baseball history. That’s got to be worth something.

        (Nothing like being selective when choosing statistics…)

      • eglooney - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:08 PM

        Rose got HIMself banned from the HoF … Anyone continuing to blame everyone else is just an enabler and looking to have the game wrecked by low-lifes that would surely swarm over everything in sight if Petey is enshrined.

        And, it is the Hall of FAME … not SHAME … SOME modicum of ethos should be required.

  17. bradybbgoat - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Reggie is just so humble and soft spoken.

    I wish he would tell us what he is really thinking sometimes.

  18. bachslunch - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Yet another good reason why former players shouldn’t have a HoF vote.

    • ezthinking - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      Unless they are on the veterans committee, they don’t

      • largebill - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:18 PM

        I assume he realizes that they don’t CURRENTLY. However, periodically people raise that idea.

    • pjmitch - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:29 PM


  19. stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    I can’t believe people are surprised that Reggie freaking Jackson is running his trap.
    Reggie has always been a self centered, egotistical, media hound.
    And today…he stays relevant by making outlandish statements.
    Reggie Jackson. Wow.
    I would put more stock in comments coming from Rickey Henderson.
    And Rickey is borderline insane.

    • pisano - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      “Rickey is borderline insane” not only that, but you’d better have subtitles to understand him. Rickey didn’t go to communication school.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        “Rickey didn’t go to communication school.”
        The scene (and my all time favorite Rickey Henderson Story):
        Rickey is holding out in the mid to late 80’s and REPRESENTING HIMSELF as player agent.
        He is calling Kevin Towers (Padres GM).
        Rickey dials the phone and Kevin answers:
        KT: Hello?
        RH: Kevin…this is Rickey…calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play ball.

        ***Yes he did Pisano. He went to “third person” communication school.***

    • eglooney - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:10 PM

      Anyone ever see Reggie and Sir Charles Barkley together in the same room?

  20. yahmule - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Looks like self proclaimed “Straw that Stirs the Drink” decided it was time to stir the ****.

  21. tobayle2661 - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I didn’t think Jackson should be in the Hall! All he could do is hit homeruns and run off at the mouth. No “D,” too many LOB strikeouts and low average.

  22. vasteelerfan - Jul 5, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Reggie who? who cares what he says, no class just sass what an a–

  23. senatorsguy - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    I am far from certain that there is a positive correlation between those who played sports well and those who understand sports.

  24. kountryking - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    I’m 76 and I refuse to die until Gil Hodges takes his place beside Jackie, Pee Wee, Roy and the Duke.

  25. warpd - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Has anyone ever seen Reggie Jackson and Jim Brown in the same room at the same time?

    • pisano - Jul 5, 2012 at 7:24 PM

      That’s an awful picture to visualize, one loves himself, and the other is a total racist.

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