Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson thinks all of Alex Rodriguez's numbers are tainted because of his admission to performance-enhancing drug use. Jackson also doesn't believe players who used steroids should be allowed into the Hall of Fame.
"Al's a very good friend," Jackson said of the New York Yankees third baseman in the latest issue of 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."
Jackson is a special adviser to the Yankees and frequently is around the clubhouse.
In February 2009, Rodriguez only admitted to using steroids during a three-year stretch after he signed a $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers.
Entering this weekend's series with the Boston Red Sox, Rodriguez has 642 career home runs, placing him fifth all-time. After this season, A-Rod, who turns 37 this month, has five years left on his contract. He is hitting .266 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs this year.
After being traded to the Yankees and then opting out of his contract, Rodriguez was re-signed by the club in 2007 to a 10-year deal that includes multimillion-dollar incentives for tying home run milestones such as Willie Mays' 660 figure and Barry Bonds' all-time record of 762. The bonuses, which could total $30 million, were agreed upon before Rodriguez' admission to PED use.
If someone such as Rodriguez or Bonds or anyone else that has been linked to PED use is voted into the Hall by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Jackson predicts there will be a boycott.
"If any of those guys get in, no Hall of Famer will attend," Jackson told SI.
Jackson, 66, left the door open a bit for himself in regards to Andy Pettitte. He thinks the Yankees' left-hander eventually will be voted into the Hall, making Pettitte a different case compared to other alleged or admitted users.
"The question is going to be a guy like Andy Pettitte, who admitted that he got involved for a while, but who is so universally respected in the game," Jackson told SI. "I think he'll get in, but there will be a lot of (members) who won't go."
Jackson seemed to indicate to SI that if Pettitte were inducted into the Hall he still may attend.
"He's an awfully good friend," Jackson said. "I've known Andy since he was 20. I'll leave it there."
Jackson also let it be known who he thinks shouldn't be current members in the Hall.
"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."
Jackson didn't think Bert Blyleven should be voted in, either.
"Blyleven wasn't even the dominant pitcher of his era; it was Jack Morris," Jackson said.
Carter died in February after battling brain cancer, and some former Mets who played with "The Kid" took exception to Jackson's singling out the catcher as not Hall of Fame-worthy.
"That's kind of sticky," Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez, a teammate of Carter's in the mid-1980s, told the New York Post. "I think that he deserves to be in. I'm glad that he's in, so I'll disagree with Reggie and keep it at that."
Said former Mets pitcher Ron Darling, who threw to Carter in the late-'80s, "Reggie is entitled to his opinion. There are other players in the Hall of Fame that baseball historians may not feel as though they should be in. That being said, the timing (stinks).
"Reggie has an opinion. I'm sure there are some who said that (Sandy) Koufax's 165 wins shouldn't get in. There's always silly comments. Listen, Reggie's not the first person to say that Gary doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame. I'm sure if [Jackson] could have a do-over, he would.''