Pete Rose’s third strike

RoseOne of the greatest sports arguments of all-time has finally been resolved.

I’m not quite sure how many times I’ve written about Pete Rose in the past but this may be the last time I ever do.

As you all probably know, Pete Rose is the greatest hitter the game of baseball has ever seen, or at least the most prolific.  While the benchmark for greatness has always been 3,000 hits, Pete Rose finished his career with 4,256.  The all-time hit record is his and will be forever.  He later went on to manage the Cincinnati Reds, the team with which he played for 19 seasons.

Despite his numerous on-the-field accomplishments, Rose has been banned from baseball for betting on the game.  After lying about his gambling habit for years, Rose finally came clean in 2004 confessing that, as a manager, he had bet on baseball, including games in which his team played.

Rose apologists, and there were plenty, still felt Rose deserved a place in the Hall of Fame.  He played harder than anyone they had ever seen, they would argue.  What he did as a player should not affect what he did as a manager, they’d proclaim, as if one could separate the two.  It’s a debate that turns even the most logical person illogical.

Now word has emerged that Rose bet on baseball as a player as well.  Crickets from the apologists.

Time RoseI get that they love Rose.  I never questioned their allegiance, only their objectivity.  Nor am I here to say I told you so.  For years, I’ve taken the stance that Rose broke the cardinal rule of baseball and is justly paying the price.  He’s tried to make amends, banging at the doors of Cooperstown, trying to get in with commissioner after commissioner saying not by the hair on their chinny chin chin.

With Bud Selig’s retirement and a new commissioner in office, this finally seemed like the time Rose might be forgiven, a well-deserved bust being polished in honor for his contributions to the game.

With news surfacing that he bet as a player, that ain’t gonna happen.

I’m not sure whether Commissioner Manfred was privy to this investigation while it was going on but it’s out there now, the final push for Peter all but petered out.  Manfred’s job just got a whole lot easier.

We’re a forgiving bunch, we sports fans.  For example, we were more offended about Alex Rodriguez lying about steroids than we were about him taking them.  Andy Pettitte admitted to taking steroids.  We forgave him.  Rafael Palmeiro lied about it to Congress and is now one of baseball’s forgotten figures despite his 569 career home runs.  A Google search of Palmeiro’s name brings not images of him at the plate swinging a bat but of him in a courtroom, waving his finger, standing firmly behind a lie which would eventually be exposed.

Rose bustI’m not going to miss debating about Rose even though for years it was one of sports’ most polarizing arguments.  If these reports are true, it’s a debate we can finally put to rest.  We may never know the extent to which Rose bet on baseball.  It’s not like he’s ever told the truth before.  Rose has lied to us so much he makes A-Rod say “Damn, that guy’s a full of shit!”

It’s a sad day for baseball but it shouldn’t be because now we finally have closure.  We know we’ve been lied to.  Repeatedly.  We know this man has a problem and will forever live with that regret.  And now we know he’ll never get into the Hall of Fame.

That will never take away from what he did on the field.  It was never Rose’s effort that came into question, only his character.

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34 Replies to “Pete Rose’s third strike”

  1. I’m not so sure that they’re glorifying A-Rod, Dwin.

    I mean, the media outlets cover the news but do so with a grain of salt.

    His breaking of these records is newsworthy but is also taken in context. I think we’re all struggling with what’s going on and has in the game for a while now.

    He’s not portrayed as any sort of hero for doing what he’s doing. Rose isn’t so much anymore either. I think that all ended yesterday.

  2. The sport can’t get past its self importance along with its ongoing hypocrisy and the sanctimonious @ssholes within the media who for years glossed over so many aspects of baseball while trying to portray as a sport with some type of redeeming quality. Now we have all of the bull#hit coming home to roost and not a goddamn thing has changed. What is that is set with regard to the rules of the game never mind what is deemed as worthy for induction into the Hall ? No matter miscreants are said to have been inducted , Major League Baseball is no better of now than it was thirty much less fifty or sixty years ago .

  3. That was a great read SC.
    I have mixed emotions about all this …because gambling is a sickness. The Q is: did he bet on games he was in? Did he throw a game (NOT that anything like THAT has ever been done in sports before…). I haven’t read enough of the facts. I just feel sorry for the guy.
    Is this all about being an idol & making impressions on young people? Can we all love, respect JFK as a President even though we know he was a run-around?
    If we start throwing people out because they are sick or lie due to their sickness … we will have a very small population of “approved professionals “(you pick the brand).
    Was he great at baseball? Yes, I believe that. IF he threw or manipulated any of the games he was in… then that changes things in my eyes… but if he just bet on a sport that he was consumed with … bet on his friends… bet against his rivals … so what?
    Im the daughter of a gambler… maybe that just makes me see past the shoulds & shouldn’ts … like you said so well… his skill set shouldn’t be challenged… just his judgement & addiction. How many of them haven’t lied to their wives, girlfriends, managers etc I wonder?
    Baseball has some real problems & their PR / image is just one of them. Letting Rose in to the HoF might have re-ignighted some passion & COMPASSION in to a game thats really become “the lying game.”

  4. Major League Baseball likes to think itself pure and just and perfect. But don’t forget they segregated their game by skin color until 1947.

    If I recall correctly, Ford Frick, baseball commissioner back in 1961, talked of listing in the record books the single-season home run records of Babe Ruth and Roger Maris separately based on the longer season in which Maris played.

    They turned their nescient head for many years over PEDs, and now they boast the strictest policy toward its use. Will anyone who cheated ever find their way into the Hall of Fame? Probably. Maybe someone already has been enshrined and we just don’t know that they cheated.

    As for Pete Rose, a man is only as good as his word. Yet Heywood Broun of the New York Morning Telegraph once wrote:

    “When humanity put to death its Greatest Servant, all that He could say in condonation was, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!’ That was the biggest and truest thing He ever said. Humanity prefers guile and gaud to honesty and worth. Humanity is asinine.”

    In America our fascination with celebrity is equaled only by our glee when celebrity falls from grace.

    Pete Rose should forever be on the outside of the Hall of Fame, nose pressed to pane of glass, left to wonder, “If only…”


    IMO, Pete Rose will eventually be enshrined in Cooperstown. When? Prolly after he leaves this earth and is 6feet under.

  6. Gotta disagree with you on this one SC. I posted a while back that all of the “cheaters” should get in if their stats warrant – at this point the real sports junkies know who is questionable and who was not (say a Tom Glavine or Greg Maddox). Hell, if they wanted to, they can add a note on their display regarding the transgressions of a Pete Rose or Roger Clemens. Again, I’ve been to the HOF and it’s like being in church, after an hour or so, you have seen / heard enough and it’s time to go. Watch the little kids play, it’s a lot more fun.

  7. I thought I’d let these comments fester for a little bit before chiming in with any responses.

    As we can see, the Rose debate, even after so many years and so much evidence to his scumbaggishness, continues to generate healthy debate.

  8. Chris

    One step at a time , even if they just happen to be baby steps and incremental. I mean even in your own backyard of Tampa , explain to me what the city has been doing to improve race relations even when you have one of the largest Muslim organizations based within the city ? Care to explain that to me and some of your patrons ?

  9. Here’s the problem with that argument, MoS.

    Baseball’s first rule is not betting on the sport. That pretty much goes with all of professional sports. It allows for the opportunity to negatively affect a game’s outcome. And if we can’t believe that what we’re watching is real, then what’s the point of even watching in the first place.

    I had this conversation with Dr. Milhouse the other day. In exchange for fame, fortune and getting to play a game they love for a living, athletes make certain sacrifices. They can’t go out to dinner or a movie or even to a damn super market without being mobbed by fans. And they can’t gamble. In exchange, they get to drive recklessly, live the life of Reilly and pretty much bang whoever they want. I’d say that’s a fair trade.

    And if you’re looking to Major League Baseball for compassion, you’re looking in the wrong place. There’s a reason kids don’t play baseball anymore. That’s because the sport has lost touch with today’s youth. Cancelling the World Series a few years back didn’t help either.

    Here’s the hypocrisy of Rose’s existence. We just watched an NBA Finals. A shorter (relatively-speaking) white guy emerged as a player to be reckoned with. His name was Dellavedova. This guy was diving all over the floor, giving everything he had and defensively shutting down guys he had no business covering. We love him for that. We loved him for the effort he provided.

    That what the case with Rose, a guy that would barrel into you if it meant reaching that extra base, giving that effort that we all think we give every day of our lives even though most of us don’t.

    That’s our infatuation with him. But for some reason we can’t separate that with his equal addiction to bet ten grand on a single sporting event.

    Professional sports leagues and teams offer counseling for their athletes so they can handle these addictions, if that’s what it was. There’s a reason why a lot of Rose’s teammates no longer talk to him. In their opinion, he soiled the game. Not to mention lying about it for years.

    Remember, Joe Jackson is still outside the Hall of Fame for mere SPECULATION that he gambled on baseball. With Rose, we have proof.

  10. Conrad…

    Let me first repeat what a pleasure it is to have you commenting on this website.

    Then let me say Amen.

    I’m not sure what’s sadder. The fact that the Rose debate has been finally put to bed or that fact that baseball continues to be exposed for its hypocrisy.

    FYI… I’m reading a great book on Satchel Paige. Stay tuned in the days to come for the official review.

  11. The NHL has just changed the OT format. The 5 minute OT will be reduced to 3 0n 3 to prevent the current over abundance of shootouts. Previously was 4 On 4.

  12. Moose…

    There are similarities and differences between the two particular and most popular instances of cheating in baseball: HGH-users and gamblers.

    I may be going out on a limb here but I would say that gambling has the potential to affect the outcome of the games more.

    In the steroid era, the majority of players in the league were on the juice. The playing field was level. Or even if it wasn’t, it wasn’t like a player on steroids could guarantee a victory. Barry Bonds never won a series. Palmeiro didn’t. Sosa didn’t. A-Rod finally did when he got on a decent team.

    The Black Sox intentionally threw the series because they were paid off.

    So again, which is worse, gambling on your sport or taking “supplements” that will supposedly make you play better?

  13. Bets…

    I actually like the power plays, 4-on-4s and 3-on-3s. I’m no purist, heck, I just started watching the game but it seems to make for a better, or at least quicker and faster-paced brand of hockey.

    Has there been any backlash to the decision or is it still to recent?

  14. I’m the wacko guy who is all for letting the steroid era have its day and the participants’ records not looked down upon, etc. I still don’t care if anyone loads up on roids. That being said, the betting on games while participating in the very sport you’re in is a different animal for me. If that makes me a hypocrite so be it. I That is one rule I think you need to enforce. Throwing games or having inside info on games for betting purposes seems to me to rise to a level of fraud that would keep someone from being in that sport’s Hall of Fame regardless of the on the field accomplishments. At least there now appears to be concrete evidence he has lied the entire time. That in itself doesn’t exactly smell like integrity to me. Or worthy of a bust in the Hall.

  15. Betting??
    Who gives a rip? Gambling is as old as prostitution.

    I think the more important question is whether he bet on the other team and purposely tried to lose games. I saw him play…Hard for me to fathom that he wasn’t giving his all out effort from what I saw.

    I mean…The guy’s nickname is Charlie Hustle.

    If it’s proven that he tried to lose on purpose for the sake of a bet he laid, I might be more inclined to deny him the Hall…But this news alone isn’t enough for me to believe he’s not Hall worthy….Not that my vote means jack shit, just my 2 cents.

  16. “Conrad…

    Let me first repeat what a pleasure it is to have you commenting on this website.”

    The pleasure is mine, Chris. Sports forums are fun—sports prompt plenty of debates, which is part of its allure.

    I don’t always agree with your posts, which means you don’t always agree with my comments; but that, too, is part of the allure. Overall, you and I think quite a bit alike.

    Keep up the good work!

  17. Nobody of significance has posted a price on PR’s chances of induction. Reasons vary but the main is the possible longevity of the result. I asked an oldtime bookmaker for a price. He laughed but insisted I must make a minimum bet if he gave me one. I agreed, but he later added too many stipulations. Passed.

    I haven’t heard much more on the new NHL OT rules. Still confused if there is a penalty when skating 3 On 3. Will the offended team add a man to go 4 on 3 or will it get crazy and become a 3 on 2? I think it’s the former.

  18. Integrity, Burnsy.

    We throw that word around a lot.

    It’s almost worth a post in and of itself.

    I see your logic and I see the difference between the two: steroids and gambling.

    Like I’ve said, I don’t have a dog in this hunt. This is just the chickens coming home to roost for Major League Baseball.

    If they really wanted to get serious, they might consider cleaning house on some of the people that are already in there.

    But you and I both know that will never happen.

  19. Just to play devil’s advocate with you, Bleed, how would we ever know?

    I mean this guy hasn’t told us the truth since Day One. He’s just begged and pleaded to be reinstated.

    And let’s say this.

    He bets ten grand on the Reds to win Monday. He then bets ten grand on the Reds to win Tuesday. He does the same on Wednesday and Thursday then takes a day off on Friday.

    What’s that tell the wiseguys?

  20. Rag…

    I think that’s how most everyone feels although as you see, there are still a bunch of people wanting him in.

    There’s no doubt that number just took a hit though.

  21. Bets…

    I would just be interested in seeing how that number would have taken a hit with the latest news.

    And I’m with most everyone else. Why is this information only being unsealed now? Is there an agenda behind that just as there has been with everything else?

    I gotta tell ya’. I love this country as much as anyone but we sure do some stupid shit sometimes.

  22. I have no vested interest either way.
    No sweat off my nuts if Pete gets in or not.
    All I know is he was a phenomenal baseball player.

    Ty Cobb was a POS from what I’ve heard.
    Kobe isn’t exactly Mr. Upstanding either.

    For me, it’s about what they did on the field and from what I saw, dude busted his ass and laced hits. The fact that he’s a degenerate gambler and liar doesn’t change what he accomplished on the diamond IMO.

  23. I think we’re getting off the point here, Bleed.

    Cobb was a racist back when it was acceptable to be so. Heck, it’s almost acceptable THESE days. We also forget Thomas Jefferson was a slave-owner. Those were different times.

    Ty Cobb sliding into second base with his spikes held high is different from wagering on a game and potentially throwing it because you had money on it.

    That’s the big deal here. Baseball rule books clearly state you’re not allowed to gamble on the game. They don’t say you’re not allowed to drop N bombs and be a dick in general.

    And for the longest time, let us not forget, they said nothing about drug use either.

  24. Chris: No, the official baseball rules don’t state that you’re not allowed to use the “n” word; but like the oath of the presidency, I believe it states that a player should uphold the integrity of the game. But you’re right in that Cobb played in a different era, and as I’ve stated before, MLB segregated its game until 1947. If that’s not racist, nothing is.

    I get the argument that the HoF is about what a player accomplishes between the chalk lines; but Rose broke the rule about gambling and deserves to sit outside the Hall.

    As for The Cobb Legacy (and thanks for asking):

    Cagney Nowak is writing a novel around the 1905 shooting death of baseball legend Ty Cobb’s father, William, by his mother a week before Ty was called up by the Detroit Tigers. Although she was acquitted by an all-male jury on the grounds that the incident was accidental (and probably the fact that she was a beautiful and sexy thirty-three-year-old woman), the townspeople of Royston, Georgia, thought otherwise.

    When Cagney begins to relive the night of the shooting in his dreams, more than a century later and in the guise of Amanda Cobb, he is led to discover his father’s deepest secret.

    More than a mystery, The Cobb Legacy is the story of a man’s efforts to connect with his dying father, a World War II veteran suffering from what today is known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and to come to terms with his obsession over the Cobb legacy as well as his own adulterous affair and impending divorce, while doubting that love with an old friend can be his.

    Let me know if you’d care for a copy; I can send you a PDF, and would love to see a review on your website.

  25. By the way, Stormin’ Norman Cash admitted, after he retired, that he corked his bats during the season in which he won the batting title. Should MLB strip him of his batting crown, or should MLB be held accountable for not checking his lumber?

  26. Again, Conrad, we use this word integrity a lot when I’m not so sure it’s entirely applicable.

    How much integrity was in the game when it backhandedly promoted steroid use to rescue it from the crisis it created by canceling the World Series… another time where the sport showed no integrity.

    Baseball thinks of itself as having integrity but I’m not so sure.

    For me, integrity comes with being a decent human being. When the collective that is Major League Baseball starts doing that, I’ll be the first in line to start watching again.

    Bizarre story about the Cobb family. Ya’ know what? I might just take you up on your offer, man. Looks like the Amazon reviews dug it. Nice work.

  27. And re: Cash, I don’t think that’s a can of worms baseball wants to open. I remember when Canseco came clean about his steroid use. He had just edged out Mike Greenwell, who was having an amazing season, the year Canseco won MVP. Greenwell suggested he should hand it over to its rightful owner.

    Baseball seems to be perfectly okay letting things rest the way they are but ultimately, there will come a time when names like Bonds and Clemens and the rest of them will run out of Hall eligibility. Then what?

    How do we explain to future generations that the leaders in almost every single important category are not enshrined in the Hall of Fame?

    Ugh… is it football season yet?

  28. Canseco is non-relevant. He had one good season, after which he said, “Each year I’ll dwarf my stats from the previous season.” Yeah. The only thing that got dwarfed was in his pants, after all the roids he took.

    Baseball is still a beautiful game, despite all their efforts to ruin it: challenges, the DH, inter-league play, wild cards, three divisions in each league.

    Part of its beauty was in its purity—that is, that umpires were human and missed calls. Over a 162-game season, they all tended to even out anyway, the blown calls. Used to be the team with the best record in the AL played the team with the best record in the NL in October for all the marbles. Now they’re talking about shortening the season so they can expand the post-season. Soon, MLB will be just like the NHL: it’ll take 28 wins to win the WS.

    I recently read where Ken Rosenthal suggested splitting the season into two halfs, creating, in his words, “September-like urgency throughout the season and giving teams that stink in the first half the chance to start anew in the second.” Quit tinkering with the game!

    Baseball is a business, concerned with bottom line, and MLB has to listen to the owners who want to make money, and the fans who want more offense. How much is too much? A final score of 42-36?

    More than other team sports, baseball is a game of nuance, a thinking man’s game. The situation changes with every pitch. They’re intent on taking all the thinking out of the game because the new fans coming into the game don’t want to think. All they want to see are fireworks. Long ball, long ball. Shit, I could hit home runs at that toy ballpark they call Yankee Stadium.

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