Pete Rose: Perception Clouded the Minds of Hall of Fame Voters

Among the many conversations revolving around the fact that the Baseball Hall of Fame wound up with no inductees after this week’s vote is the why catcher Mike Piazza was left out. To many, he was lumped in with Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and others linked to performance-enhancing drugs, even though Piazza’s resume lacks the resounding evidence of some of those others. Pete Rose, whose name comes up when the Hall of Fame voting rolls around each year, says perception of some guys got into the minds of the voters. Pete Rose joined Fox Sports Radio with the Loose Cannons to discuss if the Baseball Hall of Fame is becoming irrelevant, those that are suspicious that Mike Piazza used performance-enhancing drugs, and players getting lumped into that era being in a tight spot because there’s no concrete evidence to defend their case.

Do you think it’s getting to a point where people are viewing the Baseball Hall of Fame as irrelevant?:

“You might be right about that. As far as [Wednesday], I think you and I knew what to expect from the guys linked to steroids, and we base that on what happened to Mark McGwire when he was first eligible. … But I was a little surprised at Biggio — 3,000 hits, first time on the ballot, first time since 1945 that that’s happened. … I think Piazza is the greatest offensive catcher ever to live.”

On the suspicion that Piazza used performance-enhancing drugs:

“You can’t say, ‘I’m not going to vote for him because he had acne on his back.’ I mean, I think perception got into the minds of a lot of people. And the guys that were close [Wednesday] — there wasn’t that many of them — I don’t think they’ll make it next year. And I say this because I’ll give you four reasons why: Jeff Kent, Maddux, Glavine and Frank Thomas. And Pedro Martinez — five reasons. They’re on the ballot, so people will put them ahead of Biggio; they’ll put them ahead of Piazza.”

Isn’t it dangerous the way these guys are being accused and they have no real way to defend themselves besides stating that they never used?:

“I agree with you 100 percent. If guys got caught, like Palmeiro got caught, Sammy Sosa failed a test, Bonds said he rubbed it on him because he didn’t know what he was doing. Those guys are in for a long haul. But then you’ve got Clemens. … A tip-off on some of these guys is this: It’s very, very hard to dominate a Major League sport once you become 40. And Bonds won a couple of MVPs after 40; Clemens won a couple Cy Youngs after 40. That’s kind of a tip-off right there.”

Yeah, Bonds’ legs got stronger after 40. You know that doesn’t happen:

“I think if you went to San Francisco, or maybe it’s L.A. now, and knocked on Barry Bonds’ house right now, that he could go hit. He just had great bat speed and just demolished the ball. … But now, does that mean people are going to say I took steroids because I led the league, when I was 40 years old, in hits.”

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