NEW YORK (WFAN) – When you mess with late Mets great Gary Carter, you mess with fiery former teammate Wally Backman.
Backman, manager of New York’s Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons, had some strong words for Reggie Jackson after the Yankees legend doubted Carter’s Hall of Fame resume in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I think it’s a disgrace,” Backman said Sunday, according to the New York Daily News. “It’s off the wall.”
A Hall of Famer himself, Jackson questioned the legitimacy of some players enshrined in Cooperstown, including 2011 inductee Bert Blyleven.
“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. As much as I like Jim Rice, I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer.”
Carter passed away this February following a battle with brain cancer. A fan favorite, he was considered the missing piece to the puzzle that lifted the Mets to their second World Series title in 1986.
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“He is going a long ways saying something like that,” blasted Backman. “Especially with a guy like Gary and his status. It’s not only the player, it’s the person, too. That’s going overboard. To me, it’s a disgrace to the Yankee family with him saying that.”
Backman also called Jackson an “embarrassment,” according to excerpts of a phone conversation on Saturday between the Bisons manager and Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record.
“At least Gary was a complete player. It’s unbelievable Reggie would criticize a great guy and great player who’s passed away,” Backman said in a series of tweets from Klapisch. “Show some respect.”
Jackson told the New York Post he would apologize to the Carter family for his remarks.
“I am very disappointed that’s out there and I am embarrassed,” Jackson told the paper. “I have a number for his wife (Sandy) and I want to talk to her and the family. That needs to be noted. I am calling to apologize for inappropriate comments while I was talking to friends.”
In the SI piece, Jackson also said the 2009 steroid confession of Yankees star Alex Rodriguez “does cloud some of his records.” He later apologized to A-Rod and the franchise, according to multiple reports.
“With friends like that who needs enemies?” said A-Rod.
How would you respond to Reggie? Be heard in the comments below…