BOSTON (CBS) — Reggie Jackson was a career .262 hitter for A’s, Angels, Yankees and Orioles, averaging 27 home runs and 81 RBIs per season in his 21-year stint in the major leagues, 14 of which included All-Star selections. Yet he didn’t make the Hall of Fame for his regular-season statistics. No, it was his 18 homers and 48 postseason RBIs, along with his five World Series titles, that established the legend of “Mr. October” and led to his being elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.
Jackson spoke to Sports Illustrated for this month’s issue, and he offered his opinions on who should not be in the Hall of Fame. Unsurprisingly, Jackson didn’t hold back.
“I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer,” Jackson told SI. “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.”
Jackson didn’t spare his own friend from his Hall of Fame opinions.
“As much as I like Jim Rice, I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer,” Jackson said.
Rice was not voted into the Hall until 2009, his final year of eligibility, despite his career .298 batting average and eight All-Star selections and MVP Award. In the past, Jackson has said he would have enjoyed playing with Rice in Boston.
Jackson also spoke strongly against known users of performance-enhancing drugs, including Alex Rodriguez, with whom he’s friendly.
“[Rodriguez is] a very good friend,” Jackson told Sports Illustrated. “But I think there are real questions about his numbers. As much as I like him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his records.”
And if any known PED users get elected to the Hall?
“If any of those guys get in,” Jackson said, “no Hall of Famer will attend.”