Ferguson Jenkins says Mark McGwire owes an apology to all those pitchers who gave up his home runs.
The Hall of Famer sent an open letter to the Associated Press this week, telling the former home run king: “You have not even begun to apologize to those you have harmed.’’
“How many pitchers do you think he ended their careers by hitting numbers of home runs off them?’’ Jenkins said during a telephone interview yesterday.
Jenkins also maintained he would have known how to handle the bulked-up McGwire, who hit a then-record 70 homers in 1998.
“It’s tough to hit a home run off your back,’’ Jenkins said. “In my era, Seaver, Gibson, Drysdale, Carlton, there were so many guys that would have probably knocked him on his butt.’’
Jenkins is one of several Hall of Famers to criticize McGwire, a group that includes Goose Gossage and Carlton Fisk.
“You have yet to apologize to all the pitchers you faced while juiced,’’ Jenkins wrote. “You altered pitchers’ lives. You may have shortened pitchers careers because of the advantage you forced over them while juiced.’’
Jenkins also didn’t think McGwire will make a very effective hitting coach this season for the Cardinals.
“[St. Louis manager Tony] La Russa is his buddy,’’ Jenkins said. “That’s the only reason he got to be hitting coach. I’m not sure a home run hitter can teach a good hitter, a contact hitter, how to play, how to hit.’’
Hernandez, 23, could have become a free agent after the 2011 season. “I just wanted to be here. I didn’t care about free agency,’’ he said.
The righthander was 19-5 last season, tied for the most wins in the majors, and made his first All-Star team.