Saturday, February 1, 2003

Rose finds spot in Hitters Hall

The Associated Press

Pete Rose is getting into a Hall of Fame this year - the Ted Williams Museum Hitters Hall of Fame.

Rose - ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., because of his lifetime ban from the sport - was selected for induction into the Williams Hall along with Wade Boggs, Dom DiMaggio, Tony Gwynn and Williams - who didn't want to be honored while he was alive.

At the ceremonies, to take place Feb. 16 in Hernando, Fla., Barry Bonds and Jim Thome are to receive the Splendid Splinter Award.

It was easy to select Rose, according to Dave McCarthy, who became the Ted Williams Museum's executive director in October.

"People come in here and always ask, 'Why isn't he in the Hall of Fame? He has more hits than anybody,'" McCarthy said Friday.

Jim Prime, who co-authored several books with Williams, made the nomination, which was approved by the museum's board of directors and announced in mid-December.

McCarthy's decision to support it was influenced by the ovation Rose received at the World Series, when Rose appeared on the field as part of a corporate promotion. McCarthy attended the game with Claudia Williams, daughter of the Hall of Famer, who died last year.

"It was an unbelievably loud ovation," McCarthy said. "She looked at me, I looked at her. We're running a museum that's dedicated to the fans. We should listen to them."

The Hitters Hall of Fame began in 1995, and Shoeless Joe Jackson - like Rose, on the career banned list - was inducted in 1998.

Williams, baseball's last .400 hitter, died July 5 at age 83.

He won two MVP awards and Triple Crowns, and finished with a .344 average and 521 homers while playing for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 to 1960. He interrupted his career to serve as a Marine Corps pilot in World War II and the Korean War.

"Ted's never been one to shy away from controversy. He was always a strong supporter of Joe Jackson," McCarthy said. "In my opinion, what goes on on the field is what you honor people for. There's a lot of medal of valor winners that had problems in life, and some that haven't. It's for what they did in battle."

Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 following an investigation of his gambling. Baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti concluded Rose bet on the Cincinnati Reds while managing the team. Rose, who has denied he gambled on baseball, has been negotiating a possible reinstatement with commissioner Bud Selig.

The talks have been complicated by revelations that the Internal Revenue Service says Rose owes $151,689 in federal taxes from 1998, according to a lien filed on a Rose home near Los Angeles. Rose, who is being investigated by baseball security officials, also was reported to be in a Las Vegas casino and sports book in January.

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