NEW YORK -- Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton yesterday angrily denied that he made anti-Semitic remarks and racial accusations attributed to him in a magazine article, and the American Jewish Congress backed off from its call to have him barred from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"The article has almost no truth in it. I reject it completely," Carlton said in a statement released by his business manager, Mike Sheehan. "It is wrong about my baseball career, my personal beliefs, my family life and my new hometown. . . . I specifically deny saying anything that could be interpreted as offensive to Jewish people. I stand on my long record of treating all teammates and opponents with the same respect, be they Jewish, black or white."
The story, written by free-lancer Pat Jordan in the April issue of Philadelphia Magazine, was based on a two-day visit to Carlton's 400-acre ranch near Durango, Colo., where he has lived since 1989. In the most controversial segment of the piece, Carlton discusses worldwide revolution, conspiracy theories and describes a survival shelter built underneath the house.
"One minute he'll say, 'The Russian and U.S. governments fill the air with low-frequency sound waves meant to control us,' " Jordan wrote, "and the next he'll say, 'The Elders of Zion rule the world,' and then, 'The British MI-5 and 6 intelligence agencies have ruled the world since 1812' and '12 Jewish bankers meeting in Switzerland rule the world' and 'the world is controlled by a committee of 300 which meets at a roundtable in Rome.' "
Yesterday, after receiving the statement from Carlton, in which he called former pitcher Sandy Koufax, who is Jewish, a role model, the AJC dropped its protest.
"The sentiments Mr. Carlton expressed are laudable," said AJC spokesman Marc Palavin. "We're glad to see him agree that anti-Semitism has no place in baseball. Whether he actually made those remarks doesn't matter to us; that's now between him and the magazine. We're not pressing for further action."