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HOF veterans no less concerned than writers

Pete Rose's admission that he bet on baseball is not necessarily
a key that will unlock the door to Cooperstown.

A sampling of Hall of Fame voters and members shows some have
questions about Rose's candidacy. Voting instructions say to
consider integrity, sportsmanship and character.

One voter, Frank Luksa of The Dallas Morning News, knows what
he'll do if Rose is reinstated by commissioner Bud Selig and comes
up for election to the Hall.

"He gets a flat 'No' from me," Luksa said. "I think he
crossed the line from which there is no retreat. I'm a hard-liner
on that. It's commandment No. 1 of baseball. You are messing with
the integrity of the game."

If Rose is reinstated now, he would have two years remaining on
the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot.

If they don't select him, the career hits leader would move on
to the veterans committee, where members of the Hall of Fame
vote on candidates. In the first such vote last year, the veterans
did not elect anyone.

Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley, elected to the Hall of Fame
on Tuesday, agreed that the timing of Rose's confession was poor
because it took away from the 2004 class announcement.

"Nobody denies that Pete Rose had a great career," Hall of
Fame president Dale Petroskey said. "The question is what did he
do in the last years of his playing and managing career, and that
is a decision for the commissioner."

He added that the Hall is not considering any changes in the
rules for election that would help or hinder Rose's potential
candidacy.

So, would writers vote for Rose?

"No!" said Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News. "He
committed the biggest atrocity that can be committed against the
sport, the worst crime that can be committed. I don't think
anything can be done to disgrace the game more than what he did."

Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News covered Rose through all his
years in Cincinnati. McCoy would vote for the player -- although he
doesn't think Rose belongs on the Hall's ballot.

Tom Gage of the Detroit News was undecided.

"There are reasons to vote for him and reasons not to," he
said. "There's no denying he was a great player. I don't like the
fact that he lied for 14 years. Do I vote for the player or the
person? I'm on the fence and I don't like being there."

Jack Lang, longtime secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA and a
member of the writers' wing of the Hall of Fame, said he would not
vote for Rose.

"I would sum it up this way," Lang said. "Does he belong in
the Hall of Fame? Yes. Does he deserve it? No."

Longtime manager Al Lopez, elected to Cooperstown in 1977,
welcomed Rose's admission about gambling.

"It was a smart thing," Lopez said. "He should have done it
years ago. I know Pete pretty well and always liked him. I'm sorry
he got mixed up in all the things that happened.

"I think he has a good chance" of being elected, Lopez said.
"I think as a player, there is no question that he belongs."

Monte Irvin, who joined the Hall in 1973, isn't so sure his
fellow members want Rose in the club.

"I know we are a forgiving nation, but some Hall of Famers,
especially old-timers, say if Rose is inducted they won't come
back," Irvin said. "There are a lot of things that have to be
considered."