Pete Rose Killed Mario Soto's Career: Part II—Evidence For Naysayers

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIAugust 26, 2009

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 14:  Pete Rose addresses the media at a press conference held to announce the 'Why Not?' campaign at the PONY headquarters in Beverly Hills, California on May, 14, 2002. The campaign questions why Rose has not been named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Since yesterday's article, "Pete Rose Killed Mario Soto's Career," a few folks have doubted the validity of my argument. For some reason, I cannot let go of this. 

It might have something to do with the fact that I am so right, and the naysayers are so wrong.

Pete Rose's gambling addiction led him to over pitch Mario Soto.  By sending him out to throw on three days rest in 1985, Soto's career was cut short.  He retired at age 31, after three injury plagued seasons.

First, for the people who say that what he did while as a manager of the club should have no bearing on his reinstatement to baseball. 

Let me remind you:

Pete Rose was an acting player/manager until Aug. 17, 1986—after he killed Mario Soto's throwing arm.

So your argument holds no weight.  He was a player as well as a manager.

For those who say, "It was 1985, things were different back then. Pitchers threw on three days rest all the time." 

Yeah? Show me one.

I did a little research for a comment I made to Andrew Nuscler, a writer whose work I enjoy tremendously and opinions I generally agree with. 

But not this time.

The knuckle ball is the easiest pitch on the arm.  That's why you see guys like the Niekro's and the Perry's pitching until they are ready for the old folks home.

One would expect that they would be the most likely to go on three days rest.

Remember, Pete Rose sent Mario Soto to the mound on three days rest 19 of his 36 starts in 1985—while Rose was still a player.

Let's look at the knuckle ballers:

Phil Niekro, 32 starts in 1985...two on three days of rest. 

His brother Joe, 35 starts...five on three days rest. 

Doyle Alexander, while he did not solely rely on the knuckle ball, had 34 starts in 1985...five on three days rest.

Tom Candiotti saved his career by learning the pitch.  He did not start tossing it until 1986.  For kicks and giggles, let's toss his 1986 numbers into the mix.  Candiotti started 34 games...three on three days rest.

Shoot, let's throw in the league's games-started leader, Bert Blyleven.

In 1985, Blyleven started 37 games...four on three days rest.

Okay, that's four knuckle ballers, plus Blyleven. 

A total of 172 starts in 1985 (1986 in Candiotti's case). 

How many of those 172 games were pitched on three days rest? 

Answer: 19

Mario Soto, in 1985, pitched on three days rest 19 of his 36 starts.

So for everyone who uses the, "it was 1985" excuse...the game had already evolved from the pre-1900 mindset.

Try to prove me wrong.  I'll welcome it with open arms and kiss your feet if you can find a pitcher in 1985 who even threw half the number of games on three days rest as Soto.

The most I could find (with limited searching) was Joe Niekro and Alexander with five each.

Soto, again, 19 of 36.  Knuckle ballers, plus Blyleven, 19 of 172.

Pete Rose was an acting player, as well as manager, in 1985.  

Anyone who uses either the "what he did while managing" or "it was 1986" very flawed arguments needs to take their Pete Rose love and set it aside for a moment.

Then take a look at the cold hard facts.

Pete Rose ruined the career of a possible Hall of Famer. Pete Rose should not even be considered for reinstatement. I don't know Pete Rose—so it is nothing personal against the man. I do, however, know the numbers. 

And for anyone to think that he was not betting on baseball while a player for the Reds...Examine the box score from the last game of the '84 season—look, and compare the number of times Soto pitched on three days rest to other pitchers in 1985.

I just do not get people who find flaws in this argument.  That's the main reason I had to write this. I didn't wake up at 4 p.m. thinking I was going to write a case for my solid and unbreakable argument.


This article is not meant to offend anyone's opinion.  If anyone was offended, I apologize.  Just facts I felt the need to throw out there.