Former Philadelphia Phillie pitcher Steve Carlton on Wednesday 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 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. There are so many errors that it would be foolish to try to correct them individually. . . . 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.' "
The AJC wrote letters to baseball leaders, demanding that Carlton apologize and that baseball suspend plans to induct him into the Hall of Fame on July 31.
But Wednesday, the AJC dropped its protest.
"The sentiments Mr. Carlton expressed are laudable," said Marc Palavin, an AJC spokesman. "We're glad to see him agree that anti-Semitism has no place in baseball."
Jordan and the magazine's editor, Eliot Kaplan, stood by the story.