In hindsight, some 30+ years after Gregg Jefferies arrived in New York, the former Met is undergoing reconstructive surgery on his reputation.
Former Mets teammate Ron Darling told the New York Post that Jefferies was “revolutionary in what he did … The archaic, Neanderthal part of baseball was not ready to accept that … He was not allowed to thrive in the way he should have. In retrospect it is a black mark on the team.”
David Cone: “We ran rookies hard. It was a different generation of players. The veterans were hard on him. Once you were on the wrong side with that group it was impossible to recover.”
Roger McDowell: “Gregg had talent. Looking back, especially after coaching 13 years, if you have a talented player, it is up to us to figure out what can we do to help you to become part of the club and to teach how things went. Looking back, there were conversations and unfortunately they didn’t go further.”
Ron Darling: “People say he upended the apple cart and I would argue the apple cart already was upended. He had a lot of forward thinking that the Neanderthals of our ballclub — and I include myself in that — did not tolerate. In today’s game, if an older player didn’t like Gregg Jefferies, the front office would come down, say knock it off, he is our star, we have invested money and time in this guy, and he is worth more than you.”
Mark Carreon: “I think different time, different place, he could have made a run at the Hall. He was that kind of hitter.”
Hall of Fame? Really? Jefferies was the player labeled by former teammates as “petulant, self-absorbed, immature and selfish.” Now those same critics are suggesting Jefferies was a potential Hall of Famer?
History also got turned on its head when Jefferies claimed the infamous nine-paragraph letter that he released to the fans as “his side of the story” was written by “some people I was very close to, not my family, that thought it was a good idea … Thirty years later I could say I never wrote that letter. The people that did it only had good intentions. They only were trying to help.”