Seems like every year at about this time in the season, Reds' fans and their "Pro-Pete Cooperstown" articles pop-up more than Miley Cyrus television appearances—and with equal annoyance.
Pete Rose deserves a plaque less than Billy Ripken.
Anyone who is the least bit familiar with my writings knows that to deny my love for the Cincinnati Reds is akin to a rock 'n roll fan saying, "Yeah, that John Lennon, he sorta knew how to write a song—but Miley is better."
Gambling on baseball is the game's only cardinal sin.
And you can stop those little inner dialogues right now. "Oh, but he was a manager...not a player."
Not as if it makes one bit of difference whether or not he was a player or a manager but when he returned to Cincinnati in 1984—Rose held the position of Player/Manager. Can it get any clearer?
Player/Managers are rare these days...so allow me to simplify—Pete Rose played baseball games while managing the team. Thus, he was a player.
And take your little, "But he never bet against the Reds," and go, just...go listen to some Miley Cyrus records or something.
Last year, I wrote two articles influenced by John Cate's article, "Pete Rose Can Be Reinstated, but He Can Never Get Back Respect ."
According to Cate, "Power pitchers like Jose Rijo and Norm Charlton floundered under Rose, and others, like Mario Soto and Danny Jackson, hurt their arms."
As a kid, I loved Soto. Bar none, he was my favorite pitcher So that got me thinking, and looking at how Soto was used pre-Rose and during the Rose managerial era.
Then Pete came to town, ruined Soto's arm, and ended his career at 31.
I'll just take one quote from the Soto articles and move on:
"In the final game of that 1984 season, with the Reds 22 games behind the first place San Diego Padres , instead of taking a look at a first-year guy like managers usually do, he (Rose) started Soto.
"Again, on three days rest.
"Being the season's final game, I think it's safe to say he probably had a little extra riding on it.
"In a meaningless game vs. the Astros , Rose not only started Soto, he rode him to a hard complete game. The Reds won in the ninth, 7-6. After going up 4-0 early, Soto began getting roughed up.
"Soto faced 39 batters during the game—that is a dead-ball era number. Pre-1900's pitch counts on the last game of the season, out of the race by 22 games?"
For those who are unaware or have forgotten, every team has a big lettered sign when the player, manager, or player/manager enters the clubhouse:
NO GAMBLING—again baseball's only cardinal sin.
It makes no stipulations as to whether or not you are the manager. Whether or not you are betting on you own team to win.
Some behavior is forgivable. And in the grand scheme, what Pete did is not a big deal.
But as far as a Cooperstown plaque, no. No way is it forgivable.
It's one simple rule. And Pete Rose broke it.