As an authority on both home runs and strikeouts, Reggie Jackson is pleased that the former are up around the majors leagues early this season but displeased that the latter continue to be a bigger part of the game than ever.
“I like it, I like it,” the former Yankee and Hall of Famer said of the early home run binge during an appearance Tuesday at the BTIG Charity Day event in Manhattan. “I like guys that focus on playing good offense, and hitting the ball out of the ballpark is part of it.
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“It’s like shooting a three [point shot], dude. That’s changing the NBA. Does a home run change baseball? It probably does. Ballparks are smaller, maybe it’s a thinning out of the pitching. But really, if it’s more home runs, I like it.”
Strikeouts, on the other hand . . .
“I think strikeouts are too high,” he said. “I held a record for strikeouts, struck out 2,500, almost 2,600 times. In 20-some years that’s 125, 130 average. Guys that lead off now strike out over a hundred. That’s too much.”
Jackson’s 2,597 career strikeouts still are the MLB record. Over 21 years, that is an average of 124.
Is Jackson concerned about the Yankees’ slow start in 2016?
“We need to be patient,” he said. “We need to recognize that that’s the game of baseball. It’s a great teacher. It’s a great humbler. We’ll get better . . . I’ve got confidence in them. They’ll get better.”