ANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Barry Bonds thinks Mark McGwire and Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America elected Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn to the Hall last week, but denied McGwire. The former slugger ranks seventh on the career list with 583 home runs, but his legacy was tarnished when he stonewalled Congress two years ago amid accusations of steroid use.
"I'm sure I'm going to break the record this year. But right now I'm just thinking about golf."
-- Barry Bonds on Hank Aaron's HR record.
"I congratulate Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn for their induction to the Hall of Fame because they were great ballplayers," Bonds said Wednesday in the Dominican Republic. "But I also think McGwire and Pete Rose should be in Cooperstown."
The 23.5 percent vote McGwire received represented the first referendum on how history will judge an age when bulked-up players came under suspicion of using performance-enhancing drugs. Baseball didn't ban steroids until after the 2002 season.
Hall of Fame voters might face a similar decision on Bonds, who is under investigation by a federal grand jury as to whether he perjured himself when he testified in 2003 in the BALCO steroid distribution case that he hadn't knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drugs.
Rose, meanwhile, was given a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 for betting on the sport, something he denied for years. The career hits leader with 4,256, Rose has never appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot but received four write-in votes this year.
Arriving in the Dominican Republic for the Juan Marichal Golf Classic, Bonds told reporters he expects to become baseball's career home run leader this season.
"I'm sure I'm going to break the record this year," said the San Francisco left fielder, who needs 22 homers to surpass Hank Aaron's mark of 755. "But right now I'm just thinking about golf."
Bonds declined to discuss ongoing negotiations with the Giants over his contract, or his reported positive test for amphetamines last year.
Bonds hit .270 with 26 home runs and 77 RBIs for San Francisco last season.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press