Quite a Gamble: Keep Pete Rose Out of the Hall

Joe HuberCorrespondent IAugust 24, 2009

1989:  Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during batting practice. Mandatory Credit: Allen Steele  /Allsport

As much as you or anyone else might scratch their head as to why I'm writing this, it just so happens to be the 20th anniversary of the day Pete Rose was handed a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball.

There are the those that scream and yell from their high horses about how he ruined the integrity of the game. And there are those that shout from the mountain tops down on the rest of us lowly peons that can't grasp that he did no harm and always played to win.

I obviously care that he played to win, but that does NOT cover up the deceit and lies he left behind as his new legacy.

His legitimacy as a player was and never will be in question, and he is one of the greats of all time. His hits record speaks to that. He is in Cooperstown by virtue of the fact that they do indeed have articles from the game where he broke the record, left the record, his 300th hit. They have jerseys and hats, cleats and bats. But he, should not be inducted into the Hall.


Here is my argument, and I am willing to wager, it's pretty air tight.

MLB Rule 21(d): "BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in
connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared
ineligible for one year.

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."


So as you can see, whether or not you disagree, you are wrong.

Pete Rose as a manager was in a position to change the outcome of the game. Did he? I don't think so, but I also don't care.

He had the chance to come clean and be the first big player to skirt the issue when the story first broke, but it didn't matter. He lied about it.

He was questioned by the outgoing and incoming commissioners, and he lied. He lied when the Dowd report came out. And then when he was asked again if he lied and that there might be some leniency if he came clean, he lied again.

When the gift horse was looking him in the mouth, he turned away.

There was a time at which I believed he should not only have been eligible for the Hall, but I also felt passionate that he be inducted in unanimously!

He was one of the greatest hitters of all time. More hits than the Splendid Splinter, more base knocks than the Great Bambi(no), more slaps than Ichiro.

But he broke a rule that clearly defines the crime he committed, and the punishment that is handed down for said crime.

The other philosophy is that he should be inducted as a player and not as a manager.

My question is how do you separate the two? Would you vote Joe Torre in as a manager and not a player? The short answer is yes, theoretically, but you can't do it.

He's one man. There was not a player Pete Rose and a manager Peter Rose. If you vote in someone for one, they will go in with the other.

Granted, the acumen won't be the same, but it will mention on either his plaque or elsewhere that the man managed the Cincinnati Reds, and that's not acceptable.

Rose is one of the greats, and deserves to have memorabilia donning the walls, but the idea of seeing his head hanging in bronze doesn't make me sick, but it sure makes me wonder about a lot of people.

Rules are rules, and I don't think they were meant to be broken.