Bud Selig said tonight that Pete Rose's suspension will not be lifted as long as he's commissioner. Thus, as long as Selig is on the job, baseball's all-time hits leader won't be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Rose was recently voted onto the game's All-Century Team, and Selig acknowledged that Rose remained wildly popular among some fans.
"That certainly can't influence your decision," Selig said tonight before World Series Game 3. "In life, you have to do what you think is right--as Bart [Giamatti] did, as other commissioners did. . . . You can't be governed by what you think a number of people feel."
Rose was suspended 10 years ago after baseball investigators discovered what they believe is significant evidence that he bet on baseball. Investigator John Dowd has said Rose bet on the Cincinnati Reds while their manager.
Telephone records, fingerprints, betting slips and interviews with more than a dozen witnesses are among the pieces of evidence in Dowd's report. Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball at the time, but applied for reinstatement in September 1997. Selig has not responded formally to the request.
"The Bart Giamatti decision was very clear and very lucid on all points," Selig said. "I've made my feelings well known over the past year."
Clemens Tries Again
Roger Clemens will be inducted into the Hall of Fame one day, no matter what he does Wednesday night as the New York Yankees' in Game 4 of the 1999 World Series. But pitching well and winning a World Series game would fill in about the only missing line on a resume that has five 20-win seasons and five Cy Young awards.
"It's special," Clemens said. "Around here, it's almost a way of life. They [the Yankees] expect to be in this situation, and it's what everybody talked about all the way back from spring training.
"To finally be here in this situation, to see it happening in front of you, it's just really exciting."
Clemens has won just one of 10 postseason starts and is coming off a terrible performance in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series. Returning to Fenway Park to face Pedro Martinez and his former Boston teammates, Clemens allowed five earned runs in two innings in the only defeat for the Yankees this postseason.
The last time Clemens has pitched in a World Series was in 1986, against the New York Mets. He left Game 6 with a lead that the Red Sox eventually surrendered when Bill Buckner allowed a ground ball to skip between his legs. The Red Sox lost that one and lost Game 7 as well.
"It just went by so fast," Clemens said of his last World Series start. "This time around, it's been quite easier to absorb things and watch how things unravel and watch the guys work and so forth."
Because of his poor start against the Red Sox, Clemens was moved to the fourth slot in the rotation. That means Wednesday's start against Atlanta's John Smoltz will be his only one in the World Series.
San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn won the 1999 Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award. The award is given to the player who combines baseball skills and community work.
"This is really an amazing day," Gwynn said. "Coming back to Yankee Stadium just sends chills down my back again. . . . It's nice to be recognized not only for what you do on the field but what you do off the field."
Clemente's wife Vera and son Luis were present for the presentation to Gwynn. During the news conference, they expressed extreme displeasure that Clemente had been left off baseball's All-Century Team.
Yankees infielder Luis Sojo was back in uniform after returning from Venezuela early this afternoon. He missed the first two games of the World Series to attend to the burial of his father, who died last week while visiting his son in New York.
"My mother told me he'd want me to play," Sojo said. "He's at peace now. It won't be hard for me to play."