Pete Rose Killed Mario Soto's Career

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIAugust 25, 2009

NEW YORK - JANUARY 9: Controversial former baseball great Pete Rose attends a signing for his autobiography 'My Prison Without Bars' January 9, 2004 in New York City. In the newly-released book, Rose admitted to gambling on the Cincinnati Reds while he managed the team. (Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images)

Today is the 20-year anniversary of Pete Rose waking up, knowing he would not drive to the ballpark and manage the Reds

What do you think he did that morning? 

My guess: he probably called his bookie, got the morning lines, called him back, and placed some bets.

Still believing he had done nothing wrong during his tenure in the Majors.

If an adult wants to bet on a game, it should be legal.  If they want to marry their pet goat, it should be legal.  Smoke crack?  Sure, have at it buddy.  Just don't expect emergency room treatment after you smoke too much.

Unless a person is harming someone else, I think adults should be allowed to do anything they damn well please.  To me, that is what's known as freedom.

With my personal views on morality now out in the open, Pete Rose should never be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. 


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I am a huge Reds fan.  I do believe him when he says he only bet on Reds' games.  I don't give a rat's fat one. 

When you sign on to work in a business, you agree to follow their rules.  But still, that is not my main beef here.

Mario Soto would not have been forced, by injury, to retire at only 31-years-old had Pete Rose never managed him.

So, Rose did harm someone else.  He cut a career short by at least six or seven years. 

He cost Mario Soto millions of dollars.

Before Rose Took over the Reds

For six straight years, Soto's change-up (and other pitches) struck more batters out than any other pitcher in the league.  Year in and year out, he ranked among the league leaders in ERA, WHIP, K/9, H/9, and SO/BB.

A three time All-Star, Soto gathered enough votes to make him a top-10 Cy Young Award recipient in four separate seasons.

In other words, Soto was a stud pitcher and the ace of the Reds' staff.

On Aug. 15, 1984, Enter Pete Rose as Manager of the Cincinnati Reds

Soto, until that day, and through his first seven seasons in the big leagues, had started back-to-back games on three days rest exactly seven times.

Twice during pennant races, and once after a poor start where he threw only one third of an inning.

His first start under Rose was on three days rest.  Immediately, the results should have been noticed.  His next start, Soto leaves after allowing six earned in three innings. 

His arm was not used to so much work, and after the three inning performance, he was already hurt.  Instead of being placed on the DL, Soto waited 11 days before taking the mound again.

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 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 versus 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?

In 1985, Soto started on three days rest in 19 of his 36 starts.

Mario Soto was never the same after the 1985 season.  He was 28 years old. 

Pete Rose had killed Mario Soto's arm.  After failed comebacks, Soto retired three years later.

Not only did Pete Rose break one of the few cardinal sins of baseball, he is also responsible for prematurely ending the career of a player who was on the road to a Hall of Fame career.

So Hank Aaron and others of your ilk, give the commissioner your lame arguments that Rose has paid his price.  

Then go have a chat with Mario Soto.