Mr. October is making the back page again, 30 years after leaving the Yankees, with some new controversial comments. Hey, maybe it's not such a bad thing. Perhpas the Yankees, with their business-like approach to winning, and with their boring, sanitized quotes from the Jeters, Grandersons and Sabathias of the team, needed a little turmoil to make what is appearing to be a walk through the park on the way to their latest division title a little spicier.
Face it. As much as everyone loves Jeter, his quotes give us so little into what this icon really thinks. Everything concerning the Yankees is positive with the shortstop. But life isn't really like that. I like my job, but I have bad days and legitimate things to gripe about. Everybody does. Jeter never gives us any of that insight.
But, ahhhh, Reggie, the self-annointed straw that stirred the drink on those great Yankee teams of the late seventies and early eighties. What was on his lung was on his tongue. So, in a sense, it's nice to see someone affiliated with the Yankees stirring the pot again. The only problem is what ingredients he is using.
Reggie Jackson was the greatest clutch performer I have ever seen. Knock him down with a purpose pitch and he got up, dusted himself off, and hit the next one into the upper deck. The World Series? He proved again and again how he could rise to the occasion with the long ball. I often wondered why he didn't apply that same intensity to the regular season that he did in the post season. He may have hit 70 homeruns one of those years.
But that was pretty much where Reggie's talents stopped. After age 28, he was a one-dimensional player--just a slugger. He was a below average fielder with an average arm. He stopped stealing bases. And he struck out more than just about every other player in the bigs.
His ticket to the HOF was stamped for two reasons alone--his over 500 career homeruns and his almost god-like clutch hitting in the World Series.
Reggie probably belongs in the HOF, kind of in the same way that Harmon Killebrew does. But Reggie was in no way a player who should be mentioned in the same breath as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, or Roberto Clemente, all comtemporary outfielders of his who were far superior all-around players. So for Jackson to say anyone is not deserving of enshrinement to Cooperstown is almost laughable. If he compared his stats against others in the Hall, he might not feel so high and mighty.
While Reggie is entitled to his own opinion and while some of what he says has some merit, he needs to understand that as a public figure he was way out of line with some of his comments, especially the timing of saying Gary Carter shouldn't be in just months after this untimely death.
And Jim Rice? Was there a more feared hitter than him over a ten year period from 1977 through 1986?
As far as I'm concerned, I welcome Reggie back with his controversial comments. It's a throwback to my youth and when the Yankees were as much fun in the papers as they were on the field. He just needs to pick his topics and targets a little more wisely.