Each week, I still receive my copy of Sports Illustrated in the mail. Sure, I peruse the SI.com in my daily round-up of news and opinions. I give Jimmy Traina’s “Hot Clicks” a spin.
There is still something special about the cover of SI. The photograph is always frame-worthy, and the accompanying athlete profile or event coverage pulls you in. Obviously, everyone gets ready for the build-up to the swimsuit issue and the arrival of the next “it” girl, and we celebrate the championship teams and fantastic moments throughout the season.
But, there are always a few issues that get you to toss the other mail to the side, plop down on the couch and get right to reading. This week’s issue offers the annual “Where Are They Now?” look across the sporting landscape. Amid updates about cover subject Earl Campbell, Greg Louganis, Shawn Kemp, the cast of Bull Durham and others was an interview with Reggie Jackson by Phil Taylor.
Jackson talks of finding peace and religion in his mid-60s. There are bits about his clubhouse reputation, his car collection and his role as Special Advisor to Yankees management. You might expect those pieces of the puzzle. In the interview, you also receive Jackson’s blunt assessment of his fellow Hall of Famers, a subject that is sure to dominate sports talk radio heading into the weekend. “Mr. October” tells Taylor that Kirby Puckett, Gary Carter, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro, Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. He speaks of boycotting the inductions of any known/suspected members of the steroid era, though he reserves comment about Andy Pettitte.
Of course, everyone’s rushing to Baseball-Reference.com and trying to reassess, dismiss or justify the inclusion of those players in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. Those debates were fresh years ago, but the sides will reengage as the players of “the steroid era” come up for election and with the induction of Ron Santo forthcoming this month.
There are the unwritten rules about induction based on milestones. It used to be that 500 home runs made you a lock. Players who reach 3,000 hits and 300 wins will always have the doors opened. After that, voters have 1,000,000 reasons to include or dismiss a candidate. Some play the “no first ballot” game or hand back a blank ballot as a protest.
Should baseline stats be established? How do you count All-Star appearances or other awards?
Put simply, is Reggie wrong in going public or is his candidness refreshing?