Pete Rose Hall of Fame chatter reemerges with election of new baseball commissioner

Bud and RobLast week, we bid the first, long-awaited adieu to Bud Selig, a man who will mistakenly go down as one of the better commissioners baseball has ever seen.  Rob Manfred will soon take his place.

Manfred has worked for Major League Baseball for nearly twenty years, most recently as its CEO.  He will have plenty of issues to address when he takes over the commissionership in January.  One of those issues, albeit not its most pressing but certainly the most lingering, is whether Pete Rose should be reinstated.

Rose, the game’s all-time leading hitter, is not in the Hall of Fame.  Nor is he allowed to work for Major League Baseball in any capacity.  He was banned from the game for having (eventually) admitted to gambling on the outcome of games he was involved in.  Of course, the competitive Rose always said that he bet ON the team he was managing and never against them.  That was his defense.  Makes no matter; gambling on the sport for all those involved in it is against the rules and has been since the game began.

Pete Rose slideProponents of allowing Rose back into baseball suggest he never gambled on the game as a player – as far as they know – that he played harder than anyone they had ever seen and was perhaps the game’s greatest hitter or at least its most accomplished.

Whether or not Rose should be reinstated, and ultimately voted into the Hall of Fame, is one of baseball’s greatest debates.  It’s been twenty-five years since former Commissioner Bart Giamatti handed down the decision that would keep us arguing about Rose for years.  At that time, the Dowd Report uncovered that Rose had been gambling up to $20,000 a day on baseball games, news far more shocking than any steroid allegation.

Gambling is not only illegal at Bushwood.  It is illegal for any player in any sport to engage in such activity.  As much as I enjoy gambling, a player, coach or official gambling on his own games leads to the temptation of affecting the outcome of said games and tearing at the very fabric of what we sports fans believe to be fair contests.

Joe Jackson white soxThe Chicago White Sox threw the World Series in 1919.  Those players remain banned, including Joe Jackson who etched some of baseball’s greatest numbers.  Those players got no reprieve although their names consistently arise when any talk of Rose’s reinstatement reemerges.

Maybe it’s because this year marks 25 years since his ban.  Maybe it’s that we recently appointed a new commissioner who may have a Ros-ier outlook on life.  Either way, they have combined to regenerate a fair amount of groundswell for welcoming Rose back into the game that made him famous.

But purists’ argument to reinstate Rose is inherently hypocritical.  Gambling on the sport is one of baseball’s oldest illegalities.  Gambling on sports leads to predetermined outcomes.  We might as well be watching professional wrestling.  What, we should welcome Rose back because he tried harder, because it’s been long enough, because he’s paid his dues?  Husbands and wives can forgive their partners for cheating on them.  That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Let us not also forget that, for years, Rose lied about his gambling habits, in the same fashion and for as long and as sniveling as Alex Rodriguez.  And A-Rod is far from getting a pass.  Say what you will about the differences between steroids and gambling, these two men both cheated.

Pete Rose batRose backers will tell you that he didn’t, that he always bet on his own team to win.  They’ll point to the differences of him as player and manager.  That doesn’t change the fact that he broke the rules and knew he was doing so all along.

I am all for forgiveness and second chances but nothing has changed with regards to Rose other than the date on the calendar.  Suddenly Major League Baseball wants to have a heart?  Since when?

Twenty five years from now, will we decide that Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez gave it their all and forgive them?  I’m not sure.  What I am sure of is that if the sport does reinstate Pete Rose, it will find a way to make money by doing so, making it far more self-serving than any act of forgiveness.

His reinstatement would be hypocritical… which on second thought makes perfect sense as Major League Baseball has been hypocritical for quite some time.


30 thoughts on “Pete Rose Hall of Fame chatter reemerges with election of new baseball commissioner

  1. Let Pete in and ban Selig for eternity… What drives sports? Fans do. Without the fans what have you got? Fans, by and large, like to gamble. I’d hate to see how much money worldwide changes hands each week from sports gambling. I get it about players not gambling and I also get it about compulsive gambling addiction. Rose was (and might still be for all I know) one of those addicted to gambling and it’s like alcoholism, people don’t have a conscience anymore… On the other hand, they can’t prove Pete was gambling on the games in which he played back in the day can they? That’s why he should be in the Hall. It’s a tough call but if they ever let one of the known PED druggies into the Hall of Fame, then all bets are off… And yes… That’s a pun, son…

  2. Dwin…

    Wouldn’t you say that him gambling as a manager at least gives them probable cause?

    And even so, does it even matter? We know Pete Rose, the manager, did gamble. Extensively.

    That’s against the rules.

    Look, these guys all play a game for a living. In order to do that, they must make certain sacrifices.

    I’d say giving up gambling is a fair enough trade.

  3. C’mon, D.

    That’s all you got?

    Convince me. Change my mind that baseball should welcome Pete back with open arms.

    You’d be the first on your block to do so.

  4. He bet on them to win, not lose. Which means he wasn’t rolling out scrubs and tanking games. He just had confidence in his teams. It also isn’t just about the HOF but they also took away his ability to earn a living. Baseball is all he ever knew or would know and he is banned from it.

    I think it is absurd he is banned honestly. If he was throwing games then I would see more of a point, but he wasn’t that I know of. So to me, the integrity was still there about the games…he just had more of a reason to really care. Obviously he is no saint but c’mon…25+ years is punishment enough.

  5. Keep Pete out.

    Baseball gave him repeated opportunities to come clean and he never would. Given his stature and contributions to the game I suspect baseball could have forgiven the betting had he come clean earlier. But in the end he’s going to be kept out for lying over and over.

    Rafael Palmiero and Mark McGuire aren’t so much remembered because they were caught up in the steroid era like pleny of other players, rather they are remembered for lying under oath and pleading the 5th.

    In the end the cover up always hurts more than the act.

  6. You can do better than that, D.

    The first four words of your response were?

    Exactly.

    You can’t say he bet on baseball but. The fact that he bet on baseball is the entire point.

    Baseball didn’t take away his ability to earn a living. He did.

    Baseball didn’t tell him to drop twenty grand a day on the game. He did.

    Throwing games isn’t the only thing that’s illegal. Betting on them is.

    He knew about it. He lied about it. The ban was for life,, not until we change our minds. So why all of the sudden should we just say, okay, this has been punishment enough.

  7. You make valid points. Logic agrees. Emotionally not so much. I grew up going to Cincinnati games, watching Charlie Hustle. His love of the game was evident. He made me love the game.

  8. Liar North…

    If two lifetime liars committed to the art of lying, Liar North and Liar South, feel that Liar Rose should be kept out of the game, then that’s all the support I need.

    Here’s what I’m thinking.

    Manfred, who probably already has a stance on the matter, or at least should, should squash all this talk as soon as he gets into office. He should say, “I have decided to reinstate Pete Rose” or “Pete Rose will not be reinstated as long as I’m commissioner.”

    That way we can finally put this entire conversation to bed. That is until the next commissioner takes office.

  9. That’s the whole point, Daybreak.

    Any argument to reinstate Rose and/or put him into the Hall of Fame is based purely on emotion, based on those who watched him play and watched him give it his all.

    Like I said earlier, their arguments start with “He bet on games but…”

    They essentially ignore the fact that he gambled on a sport he was involved in and then lied about it for years.

  10. There simply isn’t enough room in the HOF for Pete’s ego. They’d have to build another wing at Cooperstown. Either that or put Luke Appling and Ernie Banks and Three-Finger Mordecai Brown out in the shed.

    Giammatti ( was he related to Paul?) was right. The game should be—I know it isn’t—sacrosanct.

    Rose is arrogant, self-centered and a liar, virtues in and of themselves not necessarily gamebreakers for admission into the Church of St. Doubleday, I’d agree.

    But he bet on baseball games in which he was involved.

    Book him, Danno!

    Case closed.

  11. There goes one old school vote against Rose.

    Way to go, Coach.

    You bring up a great point. Once baseball opens up that can of worms, by letting Rose in, then what? What if he continues on with his braggadocio. (That’s Italian for being a dick)

  12. Chris, another grand slam of writing on that last paragraph. Sums up my feelings 100 percent. I think when you hang your hat on a decision of this magnitude for THIS long you don’t think twice…about thinking twice. Great post.

  13. Chris

    I am making the presumption you’re being sarcastic concerning Bud Selig and he’s being one of the better commissioners in baseball’s history ? In reality , what real achievements have there been during his tenure? Introduction of a playoff format and a drug policy that remains a damn joke , where players at the Minor League Level are more likely to be caught cheating , than their Big League counterparts , Yet the league continues to hide behind the idiocy of their making examples of players who have flouted their steroid policy . I guess Manny Ramirez , Roger Clemens , Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire can still laugh all the way to the bank ?

    Pete Rose is simply seeking redemption because he knows enshrinement into the Hall of Fame equates with making more money and that is it . It may sound crass but that is the reality here concerning the all-time Hits’ King .

    Rob Manfred taking over from Bud Selig is simply like inserting one sock/glove puppet for another to be at the beck and call of the team owners within baseball , Things are not radically going to change one iota no matter what Manfred is likely to suggest .

    tophatal ……………

  14. No pain , no gain . It’s been painful to watch the inconsistency of the Rays and the only gain I am getting , is a damn headache , seeing how mediocre this team and the coaching staff have become .

  15. Chump, His being in the HOF wouldn’t be based purely on emotion. The fact that he would even be considered is because of his stats.
    However, I would agree that what he did was wrong on many levels, and it
    would do even more harm to the sport if that was overlooked.
    Sad that his addiction is keeping him from such an honor. And even more sad, the fact that younger players haven’t learned that lesson.

  16. Beyond the lookout for Cool Runnings II , a Jamaican ice hockey team for the Winter Olympics . I’m at a loss to understand why hockey ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

  17. I am not ignoring that he bet on baseball…just don’t care that much that he did. I never pegged you for a hardliner, follow the rules kind of guy. I will keep politics out of it but I would love to ask you a variety of questions based on ” he did it to himself “.

    I really don’t care one way or another about Pete…you asked…I gave my opinion.

  18. Chris

    What the hell is going on at the campus of USC (Trojans) ? First, corner-back Josh Davis lies about how he incurred an ankle injury, leading Steve Sarkissian to suspend him indefinitely and now another player Anthony Davis , quits the football team making allegations of their being rampant racism within the athletics program and the staff ?

    Are you looking forward to the game between Florida and Idaho , as the Gators open up their season ?

    Week one collegiate games within the Southeastern Conference (SEC)

    tophatal ……..

  19. Thanks, Burnsy.

    Hey, Kevin from the Wife Hates Sports and I are going to have a season long pick em against each other. I’ll be asking some of my readers to participate against us. So stay tuned and let me know if you can do a week.

  20. What I suggested about my Selig comments, Al, is that there are some people out there who think he was good for the sport. I think you know where I stand on the matter.

    And the Rays, Al? Yea, season’s over.

  21. DB…

    Nobody’s saying he wasn’t one of the greatest hitters of all-time. His statistics alone clearly merit his getting into the Hall.

    The one overriding factor, however, is that he gambled on the game. That cannot be ignored or forgotten.

    And if we made an exception for Pete Rose, what’s that say about how the sport feels about gambling and the next player who decides to do it?

  22. Yeah, D.

    Personally I could care less whether they let him in or not. I do like engaging in the argument though because so many people have a soft spot for Pete.

  23. Chump,

    I’ve never been one to wander away from a man claiming “I do like engaging in the argument thought”… I paused to ponder and perhaps the issue is not guilt or innocence, for we can all agree to Rose’s gambling guilt, regardless of which way he bet, but perhaps the question is the draconian sentencing.

    When rape, manslaughter, burglary and so many other heinous crimes include penalties of less than 25 years then considering Pete’s lifetime sentence seems rather irrational.

    Of course ole Bart could be some sort of irrational

    As could peckerwood Selig… so I guess we’re really hoping that Manfred doesn’t come to the Commish Desk suffering from the same cranial rectal infarction as the last two..

  24. Tree…

    You’re insinuating that the entire situation makes any sort of sense to begin with or that there’s any sort of consistency at all.

    We’re talking baseball, not our justice system. More heinous crimes perpetuated on society are dealt with accordingly (sometimes).

    In this instance, gambling on sports is illegal. Like I said in the post, knowing or a least believing what we’re watching is genuine is the entire reason we watch. If it’s not, then why bother?

  25. No skin off my nuts if he gets in or not, but all those hits and memories aren’t erased just because a bunch of writers want to look down their noses at his gambling.

    He’s still Charlie Hustle and they’re just a bunch of jealous nerds who could’nt sniff his jock on a diamond.

  26. Chris

    Last season’s home run king Chris Davis gets bounced with a twenty five game suspension , having used meth-amphetamines . So much for his claims he’s never taken a banned substance but he associates himself with Brady Anderson . What a wanker .

  27. Particularly when they’re making a serious playoff push, Al.

    Although I don’t know how far Baltimore would have gotten.

    Either way, the Davis loss certainly doesn’t help matters.

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