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Pete Rose on steroids and the Hall of Fame

Jun 16, 2011, 6:02 PM EDT

Pete Rose jacket

The San Francisco Chronicle posted a quick interview with Pete Rose on Thursday, in parge part to get his reaction to the Buster Posey collision and injury (click on the link if you want to read about that).  Rose, though, was also asked about steroids and had a pretty good take:

I’m not the one who is going to sit here and judge (Barry) Bonds, or judge Rafael (Palmeiro). All I know is they put up numbers. I’m going to tell you right now, though, Barry Bonds is one of the best hitters in the history of baseball. (Alex Rodriguez) is one of the better hitters in the history of baseball.

I’m not sure Mark McGwire was a Hall of Famer to begin with. I was a little surprised Raffy (Palmeiro) didn’t get more votes than he did. I’m going to hold my judgment on that until I get a real legitimate Hall of Famer like a Bonds or a (Roger) Clemens, and see what kind of response they get on the ballot. You know A-Rod has it made because he won’t be on the ballot until 2023. People will forget by then.

Pretty sensible if you ask me.  The only thing I disagree with is the idea that McGwire isn’t a Hall of Famer to begin with.  It sounds like Rose is saying McGwire doesn’t have Hall of Fame numbers (which he does), not that McGwire only has HoF numbers because of steroids (which is a more legitimate argument). I might be reading it wrong, though.

  1. skerney - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    I think that’s what he may have meant. Pretty sensible indeed.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:19 PM

      Maybe. I did try calling Pete and asking for a clarification, but I couldn’t hear him over his jacket.

  2. joshfrancis50 - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    I can’t believe we can make comments about sensible and a guy that dresses like this in the same sentence.

    • scatterbrian - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:56 PM

      I can’t believe how recent that photo is…

  3. bloodysock - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Is that Pete Rose or Elton John in that pic?

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 16, 2011 at 7:36 PM

      Ellen Cleghorn has REALLY let herself go.

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:40 PM

        Awesome comment! I was going to say something about that jacket being popular at the time he got banned, but you nailed it!

  4. goforthanddie - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    The HoF is a joke until Pete has a place.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:38 PM

      Please explain this. He accepted a ban, he disobeyed the one thing that was explicitly forbidden in all of baseball. Why should he be allowed in?

    • heynerdlinger - Jun 16, 2011 at 6:44 PM

      Whatever dude. You gamble on baseball and you’re out. That was the rule for decades before Pete Rose ever swung a bat.

      Or are you suggesting that famous players with gaudy stats should be exempt from that rule? Peons like Buck Weaver and Eddie Cicotte they’re out, but the Hit King gets a pass because he broke records? Or are you saying that all players should be allowed to gamble on the games in which they are participating?

      • screename529 - Jun 16, 2011 at 7:51 PM

        I think he’s saying the Hall of Fame is a museum about baseball history, and being banned from coaching or playing baseball shouldn’t mean you are banned from appearing in a museum about baseball history when you own one of baseball’s most historic records.

      • heynerdlinger - Jun 16, 2011 at 7:54 PM

        Who says that Pete Rose is banned from the HoF museum?

      • bleedgreen - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:06 PM

        Why should Pete Rose the manager’s actions prevent Pete Rose the player from getting into the Hall of Fame? The guy’s career as a player was already over when he was caught, and unless they can prove he was betting while playing, what difference does that make? Did they take OJ out of the HoF? Did they take Warren Moon out of the HoF for getting DUIs? What a person does in their life AFTER their playing career should have ZERO impact on whether or not they are allowed into the HoF.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:09 PM

        What a person does in their life AFTER their playing career should have ZERO impact on whether or not they are allowed into the HoF

        Just curious why you believe he never bet on baseball while he played? He lied for so long, only coming clean when he wrote a book (to make a profit off his story).

        Also, his 15 year eligibility is up so he’s in the hands of the Veteran’s Committee. Doubt they ever elect him.

      • bleedgreen - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:00 PM

        “Just curious why you believe he never bet on baseball while he played? He lied for so long, only coming clean when he wrote a book (to make a profit off his story).”

        You miss the part where I said “Unless they can prove he bet while playing”

    • purdueman - Jun 17, 2011 at 6:52 AM

      Oh Pete has a place in baseball’s HOF all right… no argument there… in the HOF Con-Men wing, which he pretty much has to himself!

      • bravesfaninbama - Jun 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        Lenny Dykstra begs to differ.

    • lardin - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:14 AM

      Say it with me: “Pete Rose is in the Hall of fame. He is not a hall of famer.” The HOF has not forgotten Pete Rose. There are exhibits about breaking the hit record. There are exhibits of the Big Red Machine. The HOF Museum has gotten it right. Pete Rose, historically, is a big part of baseball. The HOF has assured that. What the MLB has done is deny Pete Rose the ability to be a Hall of famER. Whats the differnce? Pete Rose does not get a bronze plaque. Pete Rose does not get to make a big speech at the end of July. Pete Rose does not get to right HOF after his name. Pete Rose does not get the ability to make money off being a Hall of famer.

      This is a big distinction. Pete Rose’s baseball ability is celebrated and commemorated in the Cooperstown. The HOF has not whitewashed Pete from History.

  5. cur68 - Jun 16, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Aww to heck with Pete in the HOF already. Joe Jackson first, then lets talk Pete. As for his comments; meh. More diplomatic than I’d have given him credit for but nothing at all that special. I’d be more interested in his take on Posey being leveled in an actual game as opposed to, say, a meaningless exhibition game. The awkward dynamics alone would have been great copy.

    • david7590 - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:18 PM

      Joe Jackson was banned from baseball for life. His life has been over for 60 years now so he should be able to go in. As for Pete, he was banned for life, he should have to wait for death as well.

      • Roger Moore - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM

        Baseball doesn’t ban people for life. It bans them permanently. People sometimes inaccurately describe it as “banned for life” because they assume it doesn’t matter after they’re dead, but the specific wording says they are to be made “permanently ineligible”. So Joe Jackson is still banned from baseball 60 years after his death.

      • purdueman - Jun 17, 2011 at 6:50 AM

        Amen brother! Amen!

        Peter Rose is the ultimate shameless opportunist and no doubt has truckloads of fresh, newly signed “one of a kind” memorabilia ready to be inscribed with “HOF” in a 250,000 sq ft. warehouse just waiting to be dumped at ridiculous prices on QVC the day that he gets elected to the HOF; he belongs, but only posthumously.

    • raysfan1 - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:55 PM

      Exactly–I’m not interested in Rose until/unless Shoeless Joe’s allowed in. So far the HoF seems to think “banned for life” includes eternal life.

  6. stankfinger - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    I think the Diamondback mascot threw up all over him.

  7. deathmonkey41 - Jun 16, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Is Pete moonlighting as a clown nowdays?

  8. thefalcon123 - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    10th All-Time in OPS, 583 homers, best HR/AB ration in baseball history….
    That “McGwire-just-doesn’t-have-numbers-for-the-hall” argument is absurd.

    • Roger Moore - Jun 16, 2011 at 10:40 PM

      I don’t know. McGwire had some serious holes in his game. He didn’t hit for average, he didn’t provide much value with his glove, he was fragile, and he put up his big numbers during a big hitting era. I can see how somebody with a traditionalist view of the game could see his flaws more than his strengths and think he didn’t have HOF numbers. They’d be wrong, but not absurdly wrong.

      • thefalcon123 - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        He didn’t hit for average…but posted a .394 OBP, which is much, much more important. Despite playing in a high offensive era, he was near the top of it. He lead the league in home runs 5 times, OBP twice, slugging 4 times, OPS+ five times (he ranks 12th all-time in that category), posted a 70.6 career WAR. Yes, they would be absurdly wrong to say those aren’t hall of fame numbers.
        To say a player isn’t deserving because he “has some holes in his game” is to eliminate roughly 95% of the hall of fame! Mickey Mantle was constantly injured, Ozzie Smith was only adequate offensively, Harmon Killebrew couldn’t hit for average either and was a poor fielder….

      • thefalcon123 - Jun 17, 2011 at 10:16 AM

        A short list of players who Mark McGwire ranks ahead of in OPS+(which adjusts OPS for run producing environment and park factors):
        Stan Musial
        Johnny Mize
        Tris Speaker
        Hank Aaron
        Joe DiMaggio
        Willie Mays
        Manny Ramirez
        If you want to leave him out because of steroids, fine. If you claim that his numbers aren’t good enough, that’s either an intellectually dishonest justification or you have an extremely high standard for the hall of fame and believe it should be left to the Mays’ and Musials of the world, and not the Killebrew’s, Gwynn’s and Ozzie Smiths.

      • Roger Moore - Jun 17, 2011 at 6:23 PM


        I don’t disagree with you that McGwire’s numbers are HOF worthy, even with his weaknesses, but I think you’re missing my point. Not everyone uses your standards for HOF worthiness. Some people care about longevity. Some people have an exaggerated regard for BA relative to other batting stats. Some people have great respect for players who played at tough defensive positions. I can easily imagine that Pete Rose would fall into all three camps, since they represent some of his strengths as a player. Those people may be wrongheaded in their choice of standards, but they aren’t intellectually dishonest or applying their standards unevenly.

        That said, some of the comparisons you’re making are ridiculous. McGwire played 1874 games in his career. Aaron played 3298, Musial played 3026 (despite losing a year to military service), Mays played 2992 (despite losing most of two seasons to service), and Speaker played 2789. If those guys are anywhere close to McGwire in rate of production but with 50+% more games played, they’re far, far better qualified than he is. And that ignores that Mays has a shelf full of gold gloves, Aaron picked up a few himself, and Speaker would have had a shelf as big as Mays’s if they had been handing them out when he played. Or that they were much better on the bases than McGwire,

        Put another way, McGwire had a short career for a HOFer. If he were elected to the HOF, he would be in the bottom third of position players in games played. The players below him almost all have either good reasons why they had less service time (played during an era of much shorter seasons; lost time to military service, the color line, or both; and/or played at positions that destroyed their bodies), had substantial additional qualifications (pioneers, executives, and managers), and/or are marginal HOFers. His short career (for a HOFer) isn’t an insurmountable obstacle- I think his numbers are still HOF worthy- but it’s not unreasonable to see it as a substantial negative when evaluating his career.

      • purdueman - Jun 17, 2011 at 9:45 PM

        Pete Rose belongs in the HOF as a player (not a manager), but not until after he dies because he’s such a con man it’s in the best interest of baseball to keep it that way.

        You see, if Rose gets elected while he’s still living, the second after his induction is official he’ll have several tracker trailer loads of “one of a kind signed Pete Rose HOF” memorabilia that he’ll be peddling at exorbitant prices on QVC to unsuspecting Grandma’s and Housewives all over America the next day.

        Pete has no morals; it’s always about hustling someone to make a fast buck.

        I see Mc Guire’s case is different than those of Clemens, Palmeiro, Sosa and Bonds, because Mc Guire never tried to hide his use of PED’s, even though his failure to own up to it in front of Congress was really chicken shit.

        The HOF selection process as we all know is SEVERELY flawed. Steve Garvey can’t get in, even though he was a better clutch hitter and has comparable numbers to HOF inductees Tony Perez and Orlando Cepeda.

        Perez and Cepeda got in primarily because they were Latino’s at the right time and right place when the predominantly left wing media who votes guys in were trying to right some sort of mythical wrong (not disputing baseball’s shameful barriers to dark skinned players, but the special committee’s that were set up have addressed the discrimination against this class of former players).

        For those of you too young to remember, Cepeda was protected in the Giants lineup by Willie Mays, Willie Mc Covey and Felipe Alou in their primes. Perez was surrounded by the Big Red Machine (which included Bench, Foster, Griffey Sr., Concepcion and Joe Moran).

        Who though protected the Garv in the Dodgers lineup? Dumpy, slow .250 hitting Ron Cey and a bunch of switch hitting punch and judy hitters. A true apples to cabbages comparison.

        The HOF should be as much for the fans as the players, but it’s not… not by a long shot!

    • FC - Jun 17, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      The real argument is: would he have had those numbers without PEDs? There’s a genuine case to be made there. Even if you believe the steroids didn’t give him more strength to knock out more homeruns, they did allow him to heal faster and get more plate appearances, and ergo more chances to knock the cover off the ball.

  9. okwhitefalcon - Jun 16, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    Interesting comments although I think he’s off with A-Rod, nobody’s going to forget he’s an admitted baseball felon.

  10. writtenbyross - Jun 17, 2011 at 6:26 AM

    I read the McGwire statement as that Rose doesn’t feel that McGwire was had the skill to be a HOFer pre-steroids but Bonds and A-Rod did. As in, before his body inflated by 400% he wasn’t on track for HOF numbers. Where skinny bonds and more-or-less-the-same-sized A-Rod still could have put up HOF worthy numbers.

    That’s just my take on what he meant.

  11. purdueman - Jun 17, 2011 at 6:44 AM

    Pete Rose… the ultimate con-man! I hear that he has several tractor trailer loads of fresh, new one of a kind Rose signed memorabilia with “HOF” inscribed on every “one of a kind” item set to peddle at ridiculous prices on QVC to unsuspecting chumps on QVC the second that he gains entry into the HOF!

  12. sjhaack - Jun 17, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    “that McGwire only has HoF numbers because of steroids (which is a more legitimate argument)”

    I don’t find that to be a legitimate argument in the slightest.

  13. purdueman - Jun 17, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    thefalcon… if I had a vote, Mc Guire would be on my HOF ballot because of his dominance before and after Conseco introduced him to PED’s. I think Mc Guire would be in the HOF right now had he not pulled his chicken shit disappearing act before Congress, and come totally clean as Andy Pettitte did, but as the old saying goes, “he made his bed, now he has to lie in it” (literally).

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