From The AP’s Joe Kay :

Pete Rose thinks Mark McGwire should be in baseball’s Hall of Fame, and hasn’t given up hope that he’ll get there someday, too.Baseball’s banished hits king said Tuesday that McGwire, who is on the ballot for the first time, ought to be voted in despite his refusal to discuss steroids. Rose isn’t eligible for the ballot because of his lifetime ban for gambling.

Rose made the case for McGwire by noting that baseball didn’t crack down on steroids until after the 2002 season, by which time McGwire had retired.

“Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, I think they kind of saved the game in (1998) with the home run contest,” Rose said. “That home run derby kind of brought baseball back.”

If that wasn’t enough lovely news for McGwire in one week, Bernie Miklasz makes a compelling case for the Bunyanesque slugger’s candidacy.  To wit, Big Mac was a better hitter than Dave Kingman (and if you’ve ever gotten lost in Cooperstown looking for the Kingman wing of the Hall of Fame, perhaps you’ll ask at the information desk next time), he’s raised oodles of cash for abused kids (!) and given there’s no hard evidence the player actually broke any rules, “it seems rather extreme to draw the line at McGwire.”

McGwire was weak in his 2005 testimony before a congressional subcommittee, but that notorious strikeout occurred 3 1/2 years after McGwire’s retirement. When C-SPAN or Tim Russert have a Hall of Fame vote, they can assess McGwire for his performance on Capitol Hill.

Unlike many of my colleagues who now fashionably demonize McGwire less than a decade after fawning over his 70 home-run pyrotechnics and transforming him into a national hero, I refuse to be two-faced.

If a voting member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) held fire on the topic of McGwire and steroids in 1998, they surrendered the moral high ground on the debate over his Hall of Fame credentials.

I must admit, I love the idea of C-SPAN being granted a ballot, much as I think the Oxygen channel (not the people running it, mind you, just the entitity) should be allowed to pick the All-Star Team.