NEW YORK -- New Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg
have their own list of candidates to join them in Cooperstown, and
it includes Pete Rose.
Boggs and Sandberg celebrated baseball's ultimate honor
Wednesday, and talked about players they thought belonged in the
Hall of Fame with them, mentioning sluggers Jim Rice and Andre
Dawson, and relievers Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage.
Rose, the career hits leader, remains on baseball's ineligible
list after admitting he bet on games while managing Cincinnati in
the late 1980s. Unless commissioner Bud Selig reinstates him by
late November, there is no plan by the Hall of Fame to place him on
the 2006 ballot, which would be his final chance for consideration
by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"He's several steps away,'' Hall president Dale Petroskey said.
"That's step one, and that's up to the commissioner.''
Rose, who agreed to the ban in 1989, applied for reinstatement
in 1997 but Selig has not ruled and refuses to say when or if he
"I patterned my game after Pete,'' said Boggs, who had a .328
career average and 3,010 hits. "When you look at what he
accomplished -- he's the hit king. Without him, there's a void in
the Hall of Fame. He needs to be there.''
Sandberg, whose .989 fielding percentage is the highest for a
second baseman, also supports Rose.
"I understand the situation, with all he's gone through,''
Sandberg said. "It's a matter of time before baseball excuses him,
and he gets in with 4,000-plus hits.''
Boggs easily gained election in his first year of eligibility,
receiving 474 of the 516 votes cast, at 91.86 percent well over the
75 percent required. Sandberg made it in just his third year on the
ballot, getting 393 votes, just six over the 387 needed.
Both did a little electioneering for old teammates.
"Jim Rice,'' Boggs began, "In my opinion, there was not a more
feared hitter in baseball. When he walked to the plate and stared
at the pitcher, you knew he was going to hit the ball hard and
drive in important runs for us.''
Rice, who had 382 homers and 1,451 RBIs in 18 years with the
Boston Red Sox, finished fourth in the balloting with 307 votes,
also trailing Sutter (344).
Sandberg mentioned Dawson, a teammate with the Chicago Cubs.
"Dawson was in the same category as Rice, " he said. "Four
hundred home runs, gold gloves, the ultimate professional and a
"Lee Smith, Sutter, Goose Gossage. I'd like to see more
closers,'' he said. "There's nothing better on a team than a big
Boggs also mentioned Bert Blyleven, who won 287 games in 22
"Facing him ... he had the greatest curveball of all time. You
look at statistics -- 3,000 hits, 300 wins, 500 home runs,'' he
said. "When you fall a little short, it takes a little longer.
Eventually, they get in.''
Gossage (285) was fourth in the balloting, followed by Dawson
(270), Blyleven (211) and Smith (200).
Boggs remembered his first brush with a Hall of Famer, when he
was an 18-year-old in his first spring with the Red Sox meeting Ted
Williams. Williams was thumbing through the bios of some of
"He said, `Kid, you know you walked twice as many times as you
struck out in the minors,''' Boggs said. "Then he said, `It's
easier to hit in the big leagues.' And it was. The lights are
better. The travel is better. The pitchers are around the plate.''
That began a long-term relationship with Williams and Boggs
talking each year in spring training, sometimes about hitting, more
often about fishing. They would discuss patience at the plate,
discipline in the batter's box and knowing the strike zone.
"He didn't like my philosophy,'' Boggs said. "He tried to make
me change. He couldn't though.''