CAL RIPKEN JR.
Baseball's Iron Man, a 19-time All-Star, sat down with guest host Ryan Asselta to discuss the Hall of Fame, whether Pete Rose deserves a spot in Cooperstown and why he still pulls for A-Rod.
RYAN ASSELTA:The sanctity of the Hall of Fame—with keeping guys out right now like Bonds, Clemens and McGwire—how sacred is it?
CAL RIPKEN: The hard part for anyone who has a vote is, What are you voting on? Do you know the whole story? Do you know the facts? I think what's happening is voters are saying, We don't know the whole facts so we're not going to make a mistake [by voting in someone] until we do. If there is any cloud hanging over ya, the safe and careful way [for voters] is to do nothing about it.
RA:As a Hall of Famer yourself, do you think Pete Rose belongs in the Hall?
CR: Petey, when you look at his career, is one of the game's best players. So the easy part of that is to say, Yes, he should be in the Hall of Fame. Some of the other difficult parts [about Rose's situation] are, What does reinstatement mean? What does working in the game mean? I don't know about any of that. But to me, he is a Hall of Fame player with the most career hits. He should be celebrated in the Hall.
RA:At your last All-Star Game [in 2001], A-Rod gave you your rightful position at shortstop. Do you ever think, What happened to that 25-year-old kid with the classy gesture?
CR: With Alex I always see the good-hearted kid. I don't know about his decisions or what happened along the way. I kind of react the way the Yankees' fans did [on Opening Day] when he came back. Yes, he has gone through this. Yes, he has served his penalty, but I still pull for him to do well.
For more of Ripken's interview, plus the SI Now archive, go to SI.com/sinow
"To me, he is a Hall of Fame player with the most career hits."
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