- The Washington Times - Monday, February 17, 2003

HERNANDO, Fla. It was a big Hall of Fame weekend for Pete Rose.
His nomination to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame was voted on this weekend, though the results won't be announced until next week. But I doubt that the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame would go to the trouble of nominating him for the one season he played with the Montreal Expos only to vote him down. So I'd say Rose's induction into the Canadian Hall of Fame is a sure bet.
Ha, ha, ha.
There is no shortage of halls of fames that are more than willing to induct Rose, even if the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown has refused to consider him because of his ban from the game for betting on baseball. A few months ago, at the urging of boxing promoter and lovable rogue Don Elbaum, the Summit County Boxing Hall of Fame in Ohio inducted Rose into their hallowed hall.
On what basis? "I'm sure Pete has flown over Summit County a few times in his life," Elbaum said.
Rose was inducted into another place of honor yesterday, although how much honor surrounds the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame is in doubt. But as far as Halls go, this one in name certainly carried more weight than what Rose has been offered so far.
So when the ceremony took place yesterday under a large tent just outside the Williams museum in Florida citrus country, you might have thought that Rose would be on hand to take part in the festivities.
Couldn't be there, said master of ceremonies Dick Flavin. He'll come at a later date to accept the honor. He had a prior commitment.
Flavin didn't say what card show Rose was committed to attending.
It's probably just as well. Bob Feller was there, and the crusty old pitcher has been the most vocal Hall of Famer speaking against Rose's reinstatement, currently under review by Cadillac Bud Selig. When asked if he would have still come if Rose was also there, Feller said, "I would have been here, but I wouldn't have been anywhere close to him."
If Rose had come, there might have been some kind of scene or something, and it might have turned into a sordid affair not that it wasn't, in its own cold, subtle way.
Mark Souza, museum director of media relations, said there has been no negative fallout from the efforts of two of Ted Williams' children, John Henry and Claudia, to have their father cryogenically frozen. John Henry and Claudia claimed that was what Ted wanted, though it was not what he had spelled out in his will and it was not what his other daughter, Bobby-Jo Williams-Ferrell, wanted namely, to have his body cremated.
"This is strictly a very positive event," Souza said. "We have been ecstatic at the positive responses we have been getting. There have been no negatives at all."
Here are a few positives:
Tony Gwynn, one of Williams' greatest admirers who was inducted in yesterday's ceremonies, positively was not there.
Barry Bonds, winner of the National League Splendid Splinter Award, was positively not there either.
Dom DiMaggio, a close friend and former teammate of Williams who was also inducted yesterday, was positively not there as well.
And John Henry Williams, the controversial son of the late Boston Red Sox slugger, was also positively not anywhere to be seen. Souza said John Henry, now 34, was pursuing his lifelong dream to play baseball somewhere.
Here's one more positive that the folks at the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame may react to negatively: There now is a taint that surrounds Ted Williams' memory, generated by the bizarre and disgusting battle that took place over his remains.
John Henry and Claudia turned their father into a national joke with their plan to freeze him. The suspicion was that the son who couldn't get his father to sign any more autographs after he died wanted to harvest the DNA for profit.
"There is a little bit of Ted Williams in all of us," wrote Bill Nowlin in the program for the induction ceremonies.
I think that is the general idea.
Last year, John Henry Williams was positively at the ceremony. He was the face of this whole project, the spokesman for his father, the one who dragged a wheelchair-bound Ted Williams out for a few minutes of a dog-and-pony show last year. Now not only was he not around yesterday, he appears to have severed all ties with the museum; he is no longer listed as a board member.
His sister Claudia has become the family face now, as they obviously are hoping to soften the connection between the museum and the sordidness that has tarnished the memory of Ted Williams.
Some inductees and honorees did show up yesterday. Jim Thome was there to get his American League Splendid Splinter honor, and Wade Boggs came to be inducted into the Hall. He provided a moment of decency as he broke down while talking about what Ted Williams meant to him. "This means so much to me," Boggs said. "I'm truly honored to be part of this Hitters Hall of Fame."
You can understand Bonds not being there. After all, what was in it for him? But Gwynn worshipped Williams, and DiMaggio was his longtime close friend. I'm sure there were reasons for their failure to be there, but it's difficult to believe that neither would do all they could to come, at least in honor of the memory of Ted Williams and particularly when Williams himself was one of the inductees yesterday.
Yes, Ted Williams was inducted into the Hitters Hall of Fame yesterday. He didn't want to be inducted into his own Hall while he was still alive. It would have been in poor taste.

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