As part of our Sports Election Day package, we asked readers to sound off on the biggest sports issues facing the nation. Here are the best responses on which of these four players should be in the Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Pete Rose or Shoeless Joe Jackson, broken down by readers' stated party affiliation. Please add your own comment below.
-- Jackson had little to do with the gamblers and did nothing to throw the games.
-- Pete Rose betting on baseball after the fact had nothing to do with the way he played the game every day or his 3,000 hits. He wasn't going into the hall as a manager.
-- Pete Rose gambled. He did not cheat like the others. Roger Clemons is a total jerk.
-- Considering the way the world has changed since, I think the lifetime ban [for Pete Rose] was too harsh and a complete overreaction. I mean Bud Selig can't even decide what to do with Barry Bonds, who arguably deserves less consideration. His illegal activities directly impacted the games in which he played. Rose's influence was only ancillary.
-- Mark McGwire is a Hall of Famer. His steroid use is a private matter to him and there was nobody to claim how much he used the stuff.
-- Barry, Roger, Mark McGwire and others should be in simply because they took advantage of the edge available at their time. Whitey Ford got in despite the spit ball. Yeah, their records are inflated, but their career numbers transcend the edge they got from something that wasn't even against the MLB rules when used. Shoeless Joe -- for his part -- is dead and an 90-year ban seems punishment enough for throwing a series that the numbers say he didn't
-- It's part of baseball's romance and lore that Shoeless Joe isn't in the Hall, but it's time to put him in. A ban from the Hall, while the player is alive, is punishment enough. Perhaps a waiting period of 25 years after the death of a banned player should be considered. Think of the positive PR if Shoeless Joe was inducted now and his great, great, grandchildren spoke at the induction. Besides, it's generally accepted the Commisioner Landis banned him to send a message to clean up the gambling. It's generally accepted that there was no conclusive evidence that Shoeless Joe tried to dump games. Let him in. Pete Rose, on the other hand, can burn in hell.
-- Sadly everyone forgets -- even the sports writers -- that in his day EVERYONE wanted to be Pete Rose. He was without a doubt one of the greatest. What he did after the game is a shame - but no different than all the other sell-outs out there. I've been to too many baseball card shows and seen too many hacks charging the fan base for pictures and autographs. It's a shame and no different. Pete Rose for his play on the field should be in the Hall -- I wish we would all get off our high horses and realize that.
-- Pete Rose is the all-time hits leader. Regardless of what happened after his playing career was over he was one of the best that ever played the game. He made mistakes as a manager and as a person but if we made those criteria, a lot of people would either not be elected or perhaps should be removed. Ty Cobb wasn't exactly a class act, but he is enshrined.
-- Rose and Jackson should not ever be admitted into the Hall. Gambling on games is unacceptable. Decisions on Bonds, Clemons, and others should not be made until final determination on use of illegal (criminal -- not just against baseball policy) drug use or other criminal activity is proved. While the arrogance of both Clemons and Bonds is insulting to many of us, it would be impossible and wrong to penalize anyone based on unproven allegations.
-- Even before the home-run production increased, Barry Bonds was a sure-fire hall of famer. The fact is, despite the allegations he used performance-enhancing substances (I am sure he did), he performed against the best athletes in the world and out-peformed them all. And yes, many, many of those "other" players were also juicing. We are unable to test any players currently in the Hall of Fame to see if they used steroids.
-- Jackson is the only one who doesn't have strong evidence supporting his accused wrong doing.
-- Of course not being alive at this time, all I read is that Joe Jackson was a scapegoat and he did everything in his abilities to win games in the world series. So, of those listed in this survey, I believe Shoeless Joe Jackson would be to most deserving to be admitted to the Hall of Fame.
-- Performance-enhancing drugs were a pervasive problem for many years in MLB, and perhaps still are. Even assuming their use by Barry Bonds, his longevity and year-after-year excellence speaks more of his ability to play the game than to any potential use of enhancers. Perhaps he doesn't break the all-time home-run mark without them, but his career would easily be Hall-caliber, nonetheless. Don't punish one man for the foibles of an entire league during a time when the league itself was unable, or unwilling, to police the problem.
-- Rose has served his time and done enough to get himself voted in. Clemens should get in, too. Even with several years in question his time in Boston is untainted and he was dominant.
-- Players are given second chances over and over again in baseball for drug use. Strawberry comes to mind quickly, but there are countless others. Drugs are a much more common issue among kids, and these are players those kids look up to. If drug use can be forgiven, betting on baseball should be forgiven. Pete Rose has been punished. Let's move on and put him where everyone who loves baseball wants him. Put Rose in the HOF.
-- Mark McGwire. Yes, he probably used performance enhancers. He actually admitted to taking Andro, which was legal at the time. He put baseball back on the map for many fans.
-- The evidence is murky on Shoeless Joe, whereas Rose signed his own letter of suspension. And to be perfectly honest, I just don't like Bonds or Clemens. I find them to be bad people and liars. I could care less whether they took steroids
-- Retry the case with modern lawyers. The burden of proof from the prosecution will be sorely lacking.
-- My memories of Pete Rose are of him always playing hard and giving all that he had. His issues never had anything to do with his play on the field. For me, he deserves it more than the others.
-- Pete's transgressions as a manager should not impact his eligibility as a HOF player. The HOF was never intended to be a bunch of choir boys.
-- Keep Bonds and Clemens out -- they're proven cheaters. Rose's accomplishments on the field, as a player, were not tainted by his gambling, or at least not to a large extent.
-- Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens shouldn't even be allowed to enter the city of Cooperstown, much less be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. They are liars, cheats and disgraces to the game of baseball. This applies to McGwire and Sosa as well.