In 1993 I was ten years old and loved to watch and play the great game of baseball. My other hobby, in which I devoted all of my free time, was collecting baseball cards and memorabilia. My father, one day, took me to a card show to meet a surprise guest. That surprise guest was Pete Rose. Now by 1993 Pete Rose had already been banned from baseball for four years. He had also gone to prison for tax evasion for not paying taxes on, ironically, money he received for signing autographs. I had a brand new flame treated baseball bat that I wanted him to sign. As my father and I approached to have him sign my bat I heard a voice, which was Pete Rose, say to his agent “make sure they paid for a bat to be signed and not a picture”. I never forgot that encounter with him and how arrogant, snobby and downright rude he acted.
Now why did I tell you that story? Because that is who Pete Rose has been from his playing days up to this point. Arrogant is the word that sticks out the most about Mr. Rose. He was arrogant playing the game of baseball and arrogant after the whole “betting on baseball” fiasco some 21 years ago. Many believe that it is this personality of his that has kept him from getting a far shake at clearing his name. However, his recent interviews on ESPN Radio and other various media outlets over the past couple years show me a difference in his personality. I don’t know Mr. Rose personally, but from a far I see a man defeated and remorseful for throwing his legacy away. At 68 years old now, it seems to me, to be a man that is coming in to the last years of his life and clearing his name and being inducted into the Hall of Fame may be his final goal.
The hardest part of his case to prove is to the Commissioner of Major League Baseball (Bud Selig). If he were to get his name removed from the infamous “ineligibility list”, which he is the only member of, he would have the votes to get in. Many writers and HOF players support him entering baseballs ultimate achievement, so what’s the problem? Here are the top five reasons I believe Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.
Pete Rose was placed on Baseball's ineligible list in 1989 when Commissioner of Baseball A. Bartlett Giamatti concluded that Rose had bet on baseball games, including games involving his own team, the Cincinnati Reds. The agreement specifically stated that Rose was confirming nor denying he had gambled on baseball. However, Pete Rose wrote in his book " My Prison Without Bars", that he admitted to Commissioner Bud Selig that he indeed gambled on baseball and his team, but that they would win not lose. There are rumors though, that personally Giamatti was out to get Rose. During Giamatti's stint as the National League President he suspended Rose for 30 days for shoving an umpire. During the suspension, behind the scenes, Rose blasted Giamatti throughout the baseball community. This, I believe, stung Giamatti and made him never relinquish his decision. There also has been talk that before stepping down and turning over the Commisioner of MLB to Bud Selig, that Giamatti privately told Selig to never lift the ban on Rose.
Major Leagues Baseball Committee will have to vote Pete Rose in. To get in Rose will need 75% of votes from the 65 member committee. Though some are on record saying that they will not vote for him, a lot of high profile Hall of Famers do want him in and will give him their vote. Hank Aaron is one of those voices saying recently that "I would certainly like to see him in," Aaron said. "He belongs in, really. His career is one that he needs to be right here in the middle of all of this”. If players such as Aaron respect what he did in the game, shouldn’t the Commissioner?
There is no real evidence or proof that Rose bet against the Reds when he was their manager. Yes he has admitted to gambling on baseball over 52 games for an average of $10,000 per game. However, he has said that he always bet that the Red's would win the game, not lose. Many, including myself, find this hard to believe. Of course, there is no choice but to take him at his word however unreliable it may be. Remember without proof in this great nation of ours, you can not presume someone guilty.
Okay here it is. You probably guessed this was coming. Yes steroids or using illegal performance enhancing drugs is cheating. When players such as McGwire, Ortiz, A-Rod, or Ramirez say things such as “it never helped me hit better" or, "I used it to recover from an injury", they are lying and cheating the game. This is, in my opinion, worse than gambling and then some. The sad fact is, however many players used some of them will eventually become Hall of Famers. What can baseball do? Ban an entire generation of players from getting in the Hall of Fame. No that’s not going to happen. Baseball is not going to stop having induction ceremonies for 20 years; they are going to have to induct some of these players. This makes gambling a little outrageous don’t you think?
This is by far the most obvious reason why Pete Rose should be a member of the Hall of Fame. If you are still not convinced sit back, relax and check out the numbers Rose put up in his amazing career.
Rose played from 1963-1986. In that amazingly long time span (showing his longevity), he had 14,053 At Bats; 2,165 Runs Scored; 1,314 RBI's; 160 Home Runs; .303 Life Time Batting Average; .375 Life Time On Base Percentage; Two Gold Glove Awards; Three Batting Titles; Rookie of the Year Award; MVP Award; Three World Series Championships; 17 All-Star appearances (5 different positions) and of course 4,256 hits!! The numbers are astonding and so was his career. It's time for Pete Rose to be a Hall of Famer