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Schmidt: McGwire should be in Hall; Palmeiro tougher

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Mike Schmidt says Mark McGwire should be
in the Hall of Fame.

Schmidt, the former Phillies great and Hall of Famer -- now
working as a special instructor during spring training for
Philadelphia -- has a book coming out soon called "Clearing the
Bases: Juiced Players, Monster Salaries, Sham Records and a Hall of
Famer's Search for the Soul of Baseball."

As the title suggests, Schmidt believes that steroids and other
factors, such as homer-friendly ballparks and advanced equipment,
have tainted the record book. However, he maintains that those
suspected of steroid use shouldn't be shut out when it comes to the
Hall of Fame.

Schmidt said if he had a vote, he'd put McGwire in the Hall.

"You have to judge him against his peers in the game," said
Schmidt, who hit 548 homers. "He hasn't been banished from the
game like [Pete] Rose, and his accomplishments on the field stand
for themselves."

McGwire hit 583 home runs and has never admitted using
performance-enhancing drugs.

Schmidt said Rafael Palmeiro, who was suspended last season
after testing positive for steroids, should be judged differently.

"Palmeiro is a stronger issue because of what happened over the
past year," Schmidt said. "I have to have more facts. I might
pass on him in the first year of eligibility without all of the
facts."

Among the other topics in the book is Pete Rose, whom Schmidt
ardently backed for years as the all-time hits leader attempted to
have his lifetime ban for gambling lifted by Major League Baseball.

After Rose admitted in a book of his own that he bet on
baseball, Schmidt backed off his support.

However, Schmidt doesn't believe it's right that Rose's appeal
has sat in limbo in the commissioner's office.

"I'm always there for Pete," Schmidt said. "Major League
Baseball has created this Pete Rose purgatory, and that's where he
is. I don't think he would mind if the commissioner said no, if the
committee voted no."