This means war, Reggie.
In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, former slugger Reggie Jackson stated that the man this site is named after is not a deserving Hall of Famer. He made the same complaint about former Twin Bert Blyleven, leading us to believe that he seriously has a problem with the Twins.
Of course, he also knocked Gary Carter, the superstar catcher who sadly passed away earlier this year, which leads us to believe that Mr. Jackson is seriously lacking in tact in addition to common sense. Phil Neikro and Don Sutton also got the axe, leading us to question who does belong in the Hall of Fame. Niekro and Sutton are both 300 game winners, and if reaching that elite milestone does not qualify a pitcher for the HOF, it’s hard to imagine what does.
One gets the impression that Jackson would like to be in the Hall all by himself.
I’m sure no Twins fan needs to be reminded of Mr. Puckett’s qualifications, but just in case we have some youngsters who didn’t see him play, here’s a refresher.
Kirby Puckett played 12 years for the Twins. He finished with a .318 career batting average, which at the time was the highest for any right-handed hitter since World War II. Kirby had six seasons with 200+ hits for a total of 2,304, and he likely would have reached 3,000 if his career hadn’t been cut short by an eye injury. Despite the injury, he still amassed 414 doubles and 207 homers. He won six Gold Gloves, made 10 All Star teams, and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting seven times. And his career OPS of .837 is pretty close to Jackson’s own .846 mark.
Perhaps Jackson’s problem is not with Puckett’s statistical accomplishments. Many in baseball think that stats don’t tell the whole story, and that it’s better to focus on the magical moments that make us love the game. No problem, because Puckett had plenty of those. For starters, there was the 1993 All Star Game in which Puckett put on a show and earned the MVP award. But Puckett’s case is sealed shut by the 1991 World Series, which Jackson apparently must have missed. And of course there were the intangibles. Puckett was a respected leader in the Twins clubhouse, and he was universally admired by fans. As a ballplayer, Puckett’s reputation is 100% unassailable.
The case for Blyleven is less rock solid, but he did have a long, solid career. He was a better than average pitcher for a long time, and he stayed around the game long enough to rack up some impressive accomplishments. Reasonable people can disagree on Blyleven’s merits, but for a current Hall of Famer to attack one of the Hall’s newest members comes off as petty and mean-spirited.
In that same spirit, allow us to spend some time attacking Jackson. Sure, he hit 563 home runs, but he also struck out 2,597 times! You can search all day for a Major Leaguer with more Ks, but you won’t find one. Jackson is baseball’s all-time Whiff King. He led the league in that dubious category five times, a feat that even Adam Dunn and Rob Deer cannot match. In addition, the candy bar named after Jackson was a colossal failure.
Mr. Jackson, go ahead and count your unmerited attack on two of the Twins’ greatest players as career strikeout number 2,598. You are officially in the Puckett’s Pond doghouse. We await your apology.