Pete Rose's eligibility for the baseball writers' Hall of Fame ballot expired Monday when the 2006 candidates were announced, a group that includes Cy Young Award winners Orel Hershiser and Dwight Gooden.
Albert Belle, Will Clark and Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen were among 14 first-time candidates on the 29-man ballot. Bruce Sutter is the holdover who came closest to election, falling 43 votes shy last year.
Following an investigation of his gambling, Rose agreed in August 1989 to a lifetime ban. The Hall's board of directors voted unanimously in February 2001 that anyone on the permanently ineligible list couldn't appear on the BBWAA ballot.
Want an easy way to start a heated shouting match over cold beer? Then take my position on Pete Rose and OJ Simpson.
Rose does not belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite being one of the ten or 20 best players in the game, ever. Simpson, however, does belong in the Football Hall of Fame.
Rose bet on some games. Simpson almost certainly murdered two people in cold blood.
The catch is, Rose's transgressions broke one of the cardinal rules of baseball. Simpson's crimes had nothing to do with football, and took place years after he retired.
Rose has no business ever being anywhere near Cooperstown. Simpson, although he belongs in jail, also belongs among the heroes at Canton.