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

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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.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?