What About Pete Rose?

Jason BurkeCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2009

In the future, Major League Baseball and its fans can expect more leaks, controversies, he said/she said games, and overall speculation with regards to the steroid era.

MLB has no answer on the appropriate measures to be taken with the offenders if anything at all.  As if they're a child stuck in the corner crying loudly with their hands over their ears wishing it would all go away.

Then, we have the sportswriters, who acting as if they had no inkling of that which transpired, have lost a valuable barometer in conducting hall of fame merits.

In baseball, the statistics bear more than just a set of numbers.  Sacred stats such as 500 home runs and 3000 hits were a free pass to the hall of fame.  Not so anymore, as they have been compromised by players looking for an edge.

The truth is no one has a good answer to deal with the past.  The stricter policies which have been put in place are an attempt to rectify and forgive past mistakes.  All offenders may be forgiven for tainting the game, save one, Pete Rose.

As we try to justify the players from this era who may or may not have given themselves an edge, we have one who never did anything to bloat his statistics except hang on for just a little too long, maybe.

Before the big money, fat contracts, and the steroids, there was "Charlie Hustle." Rose's brand of baseball was mix of raw talent, passion, and grit.  The kind which was indicative of The Big Red Machine and helped bring multiple titles to his hometown Cincinnati and a historic place in baseball lure.

It's true Rose bet upwards of $116,000.00 on the Cincinatti Reds as the team's manager in 1987.  And that is why Rose is no longer allowed to be associated with Major League Baseball in anyway.

That is a fitting punishment for breaking a cardinal rule in baseball, however, how is Rose's personal demons as a manager more of an assault on the game then the players who have tainted all the sacred records of the past?

As of this moment, Rose is not in the hall despite holding Major League records in:

  • Most career hits - 4,256
  • Most career outs - 10,328
  • Most career games played - 3,562
  • Most career at bats - 14,053
  • Most career singles - 3,215
  • Most career runs by a switch hitter - 2,165
  • Most career doubles by a switch hitter - 746
  • Most career walks by a switch hitter - 1,566
  • Most career total bases by a switch hitter - 5,752
  • Most seasons of 200 or more hits - 10
  • Most consecutive seasons of 100 or more hits - 23
  • Most consecutive seasons with 600 or more at bats - 13 (1968-1980)
  • Most seasons with 600 at bats - 17
  • Most seasons with 150 or more games played - 17
  • Most seasons with 100 or more games played - 23
  • Record for playing in the most winning games - 1,972
  • Only player in major league history to play more than 500 games at five different positions- 1B (939), LF (671), 3B (634), 2B (628), RF (595)

Add in the fact that he has three world series titles, was NL MVP in 1975, and had 17 NL All-Star selections at five different positions and the argument becomes more favorable.

I have heard the position that Rose may have only betted on the Reds but doesn't necessarily mean he did not affect the outcome.  Such as the over/under affecting the moves he would make during the course of a game.

Maybe that can't be disputed but it is precisely the reason he has been punished and banished from the game.  That does not take away his individual accomplishments and what he had done for those teams.

Pete Rose is a lot of things, a degenerate gambler, angry and bitter, selfish and a liar.  

But at least his stats are authentic.  The list of players who can make that claim seems to be dwindling by the second.