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Why Pete Rose can't crack Cooperstown

Updated: December 30, 2012, 7:15 PM ET
By Buster Olney

Over the past two decades, the question I've probably heard more than any other is this: Did you vote for Pete Rose for the Hall of Fame?

The answer is simple -- and Rose's case is also instructive for voters who seek some clarity on how to handle the Hall of Fame candidates associated with the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The Rose case provides a precedent.

No, I have never voted for Rose for the Hall of Fame -- and I've never had the opportunity, either. Under the terms of his agreement with then-commissioner Bart Giamatti -- which Rose signed -- the hit king was "declared permanently ineligible in accordance with Major League Rule 21 and placed on the Ineligible List."

This means that Rose is expressly forbidden from working within Major League Baseball. He does not have employment with the Cincinnati Reds, nor has he had his number officially retired by the team. He has applied for reinstatement repeatedly but has never received a formal response. There have been special events for which he has received specific permission from the commissioner to attend, such as when he was honored as a member of the All-Century Team at the 1999 World Series.

Because of Rose's banishment, he has never been listed on any ballot for the Hall of Fame -- and therefore has never been considered by the writers nor any special veterans committee.

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