Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson has apologized for critical comments he made about Major League Baseball players including New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and the late New York Mets catcher Gary Carter.
The Yankees asked Jackson, 66, a special adviser to the team, to stay away from the team before the All-Star break after he challenged the legitimacy of Rodriguez’s home run total and Carter’s admission into the Hall of Fame in a Sports Illustrated article.
“In trying to convey my feelings about a few issues that I am passionate about, I made the mistake of naming some specific players,” Jackson said yesterday in a statement e-mailed by the Yankees. “I have been proactively reaching out to make personal apologies to those within the Hall of Fame community that I offended, and to the Yankees organization for any disruption that I caused in the clubhouse.”
Jackson spent five of his 21 major league seasons with the Yankees and ranks 13th on the career list with 563 home runs.
In his comments to Sports Illustrated, Jackson said he has an issue with players who used performance-enhancing drugs and that there are “real questions” about Rodriguez’s home run totals because he acknowledged using such substances while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03. Rodriguez ranks fifth on the MLB career list with 642 homers.
Jackson also discussed players he believes to be unworthy of being in the Hall of Fame, a group he said includes Carter, who died in February.
“This was inappropriate and unfair to those players, some of which are very close friends of mine,” Jackson said. “There are ways to speak from the heart without hurting people, and I’m disappointed that I didn’t take greater care in expressing my views.”