Apparently, eligibility for the Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame isn’t enough to satisfy Pete Rose, as quoted by the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory).

The question was as straightforward as the man himself: Do you have a gambling problem?

“People will say that but I’ve got a good bank account,” said Pete Rose, looking up from the pile of baseballs he signed before last night’s Italian Sportsman’s Dinner.

“I didn’t take my gas money. I bet on my team to win. Is that a gambling problem?”

Armed with timing that made him baseball’s all-time hit king, he pauses before delivering a punchline: “I used to think Monday Night Football was just to get even on Sunday — that’s why they invented it.”

“I’m the only guy in the United States who can’t get a second chance,” said the refreshingly candid 18-time all-star.

“About three months ago, the guy who shot the Pope got out of jail. He’s getting his second chance. If I was an alcoholic, a drug addict or spouse abuser, I’d get a second chance. I had the wrong vice and that was gambling because of (the) 1919 (Black Sox scandal). This is 2006.

“What drives me crazy about the situation is that about 16 ballparks have casino signs hanging in them. They’re paying these clubs money yet they frown on gambling. If baseball thinks I’m the only guy in the history of baseball who ever bet, they’re p—ing up a rope.”

(Peter Bogdanovich explains to Tom Sizemore that the latter’s fake cock is not appropriate for display in the National Baseball Hall Of Fame And Museum)

Though Pete’s points about baseball’s hypocrisy are well taken, I do have to take exception to a couple of his thoughtful remarks. For one, “I didn’t take the gas money” is uncomfortably close to Bill Bennett’s “I didn’t bet the milk money” — and he’s not in the Baseball Hall Of Fame, either.

And there are other guys in America who haven’t received a second chance. John Hinckley Jr. and Ted Nolan for instance.