Hall of Shame: The Pete Rose Story
Mr. Hustle, Mr. Hustle.
Why should you be in the Hall of Shame?
As a player, you were extraordinary. You played in 17 All Star games, with three World Series tucked under your belt. You won two Golden Gloves, a few MVPs thrown in there, and a Sportsman of the Year by such an extravagant magazine.
You are the all-time leader in hits, at-bats, and games played.
You created the head first slide to a bag, and never actually walked when you were walked. You ran to first, and that garnished you the name Charlie Hustle.
Not only did you run to first when walked, but you had a run at Joe DiMaggio's hitting record as well. 44 games in a row is quite a feat, it really is a wonder you only won 3 championships...
So why does the baseball world despise you?
The hate starting brewing that day at the 1970 All Star game. It was a close one, going into inning number 12 and Charlie Hustle singled and waited on first for the next batter. Another single and Rose sped to second. Another single and Rose decided to round third and try for home. For the win.
Then, Amos Otis made a terrible throw from center and the catcher (Ray Fosse of the Indians) had no chance at the ball. Rose decided to barrel into him anyway.
Sure, he scored the winning run in the All Star game, thats great. But Rose seemed to have forgotten how little the All Star game actually means in the long run.
Fosse suffered a separated shoulder in the crash, and he never reached the power or average of that year again.
But that's not all.
Rose was arrested for tax evasion when he failed to pay taxes on income he gathered from selling autographs, memorabilia, and horse racing. He served a short stint in prison, and soon paid the $300,000-plus he owed to the government.
Lies, lies, and more lies.
Sports Illustrated shone the light on Rose's bets. Rose, of course, denied the claims for many years, even stating in an interview with Jim Gray, "I'm not going to admit to something that didn't happen."
Rose was confident in his language and use of words during the interview, and people believed him. He sounded real.
Then came the truth.
In his autobiography Rose admitted to betting on baseball; however, he said he only bet for the Reds to win.
Some may ask, "why does it matter if the point is to go out and win every game anyway? Why does it matter if you bet on your own team?"
To answer that, I present you with a hypothetical.
Let's say the playoffs are in a couple of weeks, and you have your best pitcher in now, your last game of the regular season. You need to rest that pitcher so he can perform to the best of his ability in the playoffs, but you want to win money, you are looking at the short term not the long term.
So you keep the pitcher in three extra innings and you win the game. But when the playoffs roll around, he is fatigued and doesn't play as well as some may have hoped.
So even if Rose is telling the truth, which he is prone not to do, he could have thrown away a lot of wins for his club.
And that is why Pete Rose is the first member of the infamous Hall of Shame.
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