OAKLAND, Calif. (WFAN/AP) — Reggie Jackson rejoined the Yankees as special adviser Thursday and was in uniform for the opener of a four-game series against the Oakland Athletics after he made critical comments of slugger Alex Rodriguez and other former stars.
Jackson, a Hall of Famer nicknamed Mr. October for his postseason heroics, said last week he made a mistake questioning the credentials of A-Rod and others. The former A’s and Yankees star told Sports Illustrated that some of Rodriguez’s statistics were tainted by his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Manager Joe Girardi said Thursday it’s time for everyone to move forward, and he is happy to have Jackson back.
“I think it’s all behind us. I think that’s the most important thing,” Girardi said. “I think Reg has made a number of calls to try to rectify everything. I’m OK with it. I’m glad he’s here. Let’s just move on.”
Jackson declined to comment as he made his way through the clubhouse before New York took the field at the Coliseum for batting practice.
“No. I’m here, like you, to watch the game — watch them keep winning,” Jackson said before heading out to the field, where he chatted up Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson behind the batting cage.
Jackson — who had initially been set to be away indefinitely from the club, perhaps until late in the season — stood perched against the cage as Rodriguez and the rest of the players took their batting practice cuts.
Jackson has spoken to Rodriguez to explain his comments.
Jackson also said he didn’t see Gary Carter, Kirby Puckett and others as Hall of Famers. Jackson is skipping this weekend’s Hall festivities in Cooperstown.
The 1977 World Series MVP with the Yankees, Jackson didn’t travel to Boston for New York’s four-game series at Fenway Park right before the All-Star break to avoid becoming a distraction. And he wanted to stay under the radar again Thursday — as much as he could given the circumstances, that is.
Jackson told SI that A-Rod was a friend, while adding: “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.”
Jackson also said there were several players that he didn’t view as worthy of Cooperstown.
“I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. 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,” Jackson was quoted by SI.
Carter died in February and several former players have criticized the timing of Jackson’s remarks. 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.”
“God gives us many holes in our body,” Bert Blyleven, also singled out by Jackson, told WFAN on Wednesday. “And he just spoke out of the wrong one. That’s the way I look at it.”
Was Reggie’s absence from the team too short considering what he said? Be heard in the comments below…
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