All these years later, Gregg Jefferies’ tormentors are apologetic. Time not only heals wounds but changes acceptable traits. How silly it all seems now to care about how someone handled his bats or trained.
“He was revolutionary in what he did,” Ron Darling says now, with Jefferies three decades removed from a Mets tenure that began with such promise and devolved into poison. “The archaic, Neanderthal part of baseball was not ready to accept that. A lot of animosity from that Mets team came from players not willing to grow and change. … He was not allowed to thrive in the way he should have. In retrospect it is a black mark on the team.”
When what is said these days by Darling, Keith Hernandez, David Cone and Roger McDowell is relayed to Jefferies, 52 now and living in Las Vegas, he returns to his prevailing theme from a conversation that climbs beyond an hour and is more a cleansing of the past than a remembrance.
“I really like those guys,” Jefferies said. “I know it sounds weird. I will listen to Keith and Ron [on TV broadcasts]. I look at them as, they were my teammates. I like them. I hope that message gets across. I felt I did more wrong than…