Home-run king Aaron gives Rose vote of support
By Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Pete Rose, who received a lifetime ban 20 years ago for betting on baseball, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, former home-run king Hank Aaron said.
"I would certainly like to see him in," Aaron said. "He belongs in, really. His career is one that he needs to be right here in the middle of all of this."
Rose, in Cooperstown signing autographs over the weekend but not in attendance at the Hall of Fame ceremony for Rickey Henderson, Jim Rice and veterans committee selection Joe Gordon, admitted in 2002 to Commissioner Bud Selig that he bet on baseball. Selig said Rose's case still is under review.
"The Pete Rose thing is different than steroids," Aaron said. "If I had been Pete, I think I would have asked for forgiveness many, many years ago."
Aaron, who hit 755 home runs, also said he believes no performance-enhancing drug can turn a player with minimal talent into a Hall of Famer.
"I certainly don't think you can stand up there and hit a Nolan Ryan 100-mph fastball just because you put something in your arm or took a pill."
Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, ninth on the all-time home run list with 583, says Roger Maris not only deserves to be recognized as the single-season home-run leader, but also as a Hall of Famer. "Roger, for the single thing he did," Killebrew said, "he should be in the Hall of Fame."
Maris hit 61 home run in 1961. Home-run king Aaron gives Rose vote of support - USATODAY.com