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."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press