Blyleven: Give Jackson Credit For Apology, But Why Include Carter?
NEW YORK (WFAN) – Bert Blyleven wasn’t angered by Reggie Jackson’s comments to Sports Illustrated. Disappointed, maybe.
But he’s moved on.
Jackson questioned the Hall of Fame legitimacy of Blyleven and deceased players Gary Carter and Kirby Puckett — among others — in his already-infamous interview. Blyleven told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton that the Yankees great personally apologized over the phone before the issue went to print.
“God gives us many holes in our body,” Blyleven said Wednesday morning. “And he just spoke out of the wrong one. That’s the way I look at it.”
LISTEN: Blyleven with Boomer & Carton
Though the 61-year-old accepted the apology and insisted Jackson “didn’t mean it that way,” there’s something that still bothers him: “The thing that got (to) me about the article: sometimes you say things before you think, and when he mentions Kirby Puckett and Gary Carter, two guys that are no longer with us, that was not right.”
Blyleven thought Jackson actually caught the most heat for saying A-Rod’s stats have been tainted by the star’s admission of steroid use. When informed by co-host Craig Carton that most of the vitriol in New York stemmed from the inclusion of Carter, Blyleven replied, “Well, good.”
“Only because Gary’s a good friend of mine. We grew up together in Southern California,” he said. “Of course, I played with the great Kirby Puckett. So yeah, that hurts.”
The backlash against Jackson was swift. Wally Backman, Carter’s teammate on the 1986 championship Mets, called the comments “a disgrace.” Fellow Hall of Famer Tom Seaver told reporters in Buffalo that “Reggie sometimes turns the logical part of his brain off.” Even the Yankees told Jackson, one of the team’s special advisers, to stay away for the time being.
“You man up,” said Blyleven. “Give him credit for calling me saying that ‘Hey, there’s an article that’s coming out. This is what was said and I apologize and I’m trying to call everybody on that list.’ ”
It might have just been a case of Reggie being Reggie. Besides, there’s nothing Jackson could say that would take away Blyleven’s long-awaited accomplishment.
“It took me 14 years to get in,” he told Boomer & Carton. “One little statement is not all it takes (to take) this damn thing away from me.”
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