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March 03, 2017

Mike Schmidt: Pete Rose 'probably will never get in the Hall of Fame'

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030317.Phils.MSchmidt Ryan Lawrence/PhillyVoice

Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt taking in batting practice with Charlie Manuel last spring. Schmidt, who arrived in Phillies camp on Friday to work as a guest instructor, is not bullish on former teammate Pete Rose's chances at joining him in Cooperstown.

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt said it’s “fantastic” that former teammate and fellow 1980 World Series-winning infielder Pete Rose will likely join him this summer in the Phillies Wall of Fame, the most prestigious honor a Phillies alum can receive from the organization.

But, according to Schmidt, Major League Baseball allowing Rose to be honored by the Phillies and last year by the Cincinnati Reds is a “different story” than the possibility of baseball’s all-time hit king being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Schmidt, who arrived in Phillies camp Friday to begin his latest assignment as a guest instructor, does not think baseball is softening its stance by allowing Rose to be recognized by two of his former teams. He’s not exactly bullish about Rose’s Cooperstown odds.

“I would say more than likely, Pete probably will never get in the Hall of Fame,” Schmidt said on Friday morning in Clearwater, Fla. “I’m just giving a realistic opinion. Because of the commissioner’s position on it, current Hall of Famers’ position on it, guys with votes’ position on it, right?”

According to the Hall of Fame’s bylaws, the 75-year-old Rose remains ineligible for the Hall of Fame because he is on baseball’s ineligible list. Rose, the MLB career leader with 4,256 hits in 24 seasons with the Reds, Phillies, and Montreal Expos, was levied a lifetime ban for betting on baseball in 1989.

Fifteen months ago, Rob Manfred rejected Rose’s application for reinstatement but didn’t necessarily slam the door on the Hall of Fame issue.

“It is not part of my authority of responsibility here to make any determination concerning Mr. Rose's eligibility as a candidate for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame,” Manfred said back in December of 2015. “In fact, in my view, the considerations that should drive a decision on whether an individual should be allowed to work in Baseball are not the same as those that should drive a decision on Hall of Fame eligibility. … Thus, any debate over Mr. Rose's eligibility for the Hall of Fame is one that must take place in a different forum.”

In summary: Rose can theoretically be made eligible for Hall of Fame induction while still being banned from working in baseball. But, at this point, Rose would have to be placed on a veterans committee ballot, and at least according to Schmidt, Rose might not fare well on a ballot of his peers.

But if the vote was in the hands of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the organization that votes on the regular Half Fame ballot each winter, Rose would likely stand a fair chance for induction.

On Friday, Schmidt brought up the current wave of players with suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use making their way on the ballot. In the latest Hall of Fame balloting, two of the best players of that era, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, saw their support rise in this year’s election results (Bonds by 9.5 percent, Clemens by 8.9 percent). And each fared especially well among first-time voters.

“I guess the big argument to conclude that particular subject is equating what Pete did to what the guys associated with PEDs did,” Schmidt said in a session with Philadelphia media members on Friday. “The PED guys have been given some level of forgiveness, depending on which guy you point to, why isn’t Pete given the same level of forgiveness?”

It was then pointed out to Schmidt that Rose likely would get that support from the BBWAA voting populace, a group that voted in Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez, and Tim Raines for 2017 induction. Both Bagwell and Rodriguez have at least been mentioned in the same conversation of suspected PED users.

“Based on this year, there is some question in that regard,” Schmidt said. “As a former player, I’m not going to disrespect anybody by mentioning any names, but I think there’s a trend. You know, (you guys) have a vote.”

Schmidt began the first of two separate stints as a guest instructor in Phillies camp on Friday. He’ll depart camp after Sunday’s game and then return later this month.

The 67-year-old Schmidt is also a member of Comcast SportsNets’s broadcast team; he’ll join the crew as an analyst for home weekend games in 2017. Schmidt will be in the booth with fellow color man John Kruk for Sunday’s Phillies-Tigers game, which will be broadcast live on CSN at 1 p.m.

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanlawrence21