COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Newly inducted Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan has always been known as a straight shooter, and he didn't dodge the sticky issue when he was faced yesterday with the question of whether baseball exile Pete Rose should be enshrined.
"Pete should be in the Hall of Fame," Ryan said bluntly.
Rose, even in exile, has become a part of the Cooperstown landscape each summer. He was in town all weekend signing autographs outside a private museum dedicated to him just down the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Baseball's all-time hits leader has been banned from baseball since 1989, when late commissioner Bart Giamatti determined that he gambled on baseball. That ban applies to his eligibility for the Hall.
New inductee George Brett also was asked whether he favored Rose's admission, but he sidestepped the question. Ryan met it head-on.
"I know how Pete played the game how he affected the teams he played on," Ryan said. "I'd have liked to have him as a teammate, but I didn't particularly enjoy playing against him. I think he should be judged on his merits as a player."
Ryan also trod on a sore subject during his induction speech, paying tribute to baseball labor pioneer Marvin Miller.
"When I broke into the major leagues, the minimum salary was $7,000 and I had to go home in the winter and get a job," Ryan said. "Because of Marvin's efforts and the people in baseball, we brought that level up to where the players weren't put in that situation."