Let's clarify something right off the bat. The Hall of Fame is not ignoring Pete Rose. In fact, Pete Rose is already in the Hall of Fame.
Yes, I wrote that correctly.
Pete Rose is already in the Hall of Fame.
His accomplishments are recognized, and memorabilia from his career is displayed. Depending on when you go, you might also actually see a picture of him (probably sliding head first).
What he does not have is a plaque among the Hall of Famers. And this is the way it should be.
“Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
That is the rule that Rose violated. It is displayed in every single clubhouse at every single level of organized, affiliated baseball. And I don't mean displayed like the calorie chart of Whoppers at Burger King. It is displayed on signs large enough to see across the locker room.
In other words—if you ever set foot in a professional locker room, you should know this rule. How many times did Pete Rose see this rule? How many clubhouses did he walk into and out of in his career? He played or managed in 4,330 games in the majors. Add in minor league games, exhibitions, spring trainings, practices, etc.—you have to figure Rose walked past this sign at least 6,000 times in his life.
He knew what the rule was—and he knew the consequences of violating that rule.
It's not a temporary ban. It's not a suspension. It says permanently ineligible.
Rose was an amazing player. Was he the greatest at any specific position? Hardly. But he was outstanding at five different positions. And he played the game with more heart and passion than maybe anyone in the history of the game. He wanted to win all the time no matter what.
Sadly, it was that passion for winning that was ultimately his downfall.
The debate whether Rose gambled or not is in the past (though the specifics of how he bet are still in dispute). Even if—as Rose now claims (and we know what kind of credibility that has)—he only placed bets on his team to win, it still violated baseball's prime directive.
As for those who will lump Rose in with those from the steroid era—stop. It's not the same thing. None of the juiced ballplayers (McGwire, Sosa, etc.) ever broke a baseball rule. There was no rule saying they couldn't use supplements. They did what they had to do to win, and they should be in the Hall when their time comes up (see my comments about McGwire).
Bottom line, Pete broke the rule. You break the rule, you suffer the consequences.
The Mets Police at www.metspolice.com
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