Rose believes both Clemens and Bonds deserve to be in the Hall. No question. He empathizes with their situation. Though Clemens and Bonds aren’t banned from baseball, it feels like they’ve at least been temporarily blackballed.
“What’s the Hall of Fame going to be?” Rose asked incredulously. “Is it going to (have) no hit king, no home run king, no guy with the most Cy Youngs in it? That can’t be good for the game. And that certainly can’t be good for the Hall of Fame. Because believe it or not, the Hall of Fame isn’t a bunch of altar boys.”
Yet in the next breath, he excoriates how steroids blemished the game. Say what you will about Pete Rose’s alleged out-of-control gambling while he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. That had nothing to do with his 24 big-league records as a player, from his 4,256 hits to his 3,562 games played to his 3,315 singles to his 14,053 at-bats.
“I believe the worst thing you can do as a player is do anything that dickers with the statistics of baseball,” Rose said. “The statistics of baseball are the most sacred thing in sports. Baseball is all about its history. When you talk about steroids, I’m the wrong guy to talk to. Wouldn’t you like to talk to Roger Maris about steroids? Wouldn’t you like to talk to Babe Ruth about steroids? Hank Aaron won’t talk about it.” He paused a moment, then he smirked. “If anyone gets 4,257 (hits) and is linked to steroids, then I’ll have something to say.”