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Pete Rose has paid his debt. Let him back into the game

Nov 13, 2013, 3:07 PM EST

pete rose getty Getty Images

Let’s start with something completely different. Pete Rose played almost his entire career in a terrible hitting environment. People rarely talk about this because, well, with Pete Rose, there are always more interesting things to talk about. But it’s true. Rose played for 24 years when pitchers dominated the game. The average run-scoring environment in baseball history is about 716-runs per team. In Rose’s career, teams in his league averaged 655 runs per game. Runs were hard to come by in the 1960s and 1970s.

Well, you know the story of the time. The strike zone was huge. The mounds were high. The ballparks were vast. The baseballs were probably a bit deader.

Here are Pete Rose’s splits for his career:

303/.375/.409

OK, that’s pretty good — a .300 career average, a pretty high on-base percentage, a pretty low slugging percentage but Rose was a singles hitter. This rate numbers dropped significantly after Rose turned 40 too — he chased Cobb’s hit record and cost himself a few points in all three categories.

But the point here is Rose’s hitting environment. Baseball Reference has this great tool where you can neutralize a player’s numbers so that you can see what they would look like iin an average hitting environment. Rose’s neutralized numbers:

.312/.385/.420

Yeah, well, that’s a lot better isn’t it. Derek Jeter’s career numbers: .312/.381/.446. Hmm.

Of course, Jeter did not play in an average hitting environment. He played most of his career when offense was completely out of control. If Rose had played in JETER’S time, his splits calculate like so:

.324/.398/.436

Let’s go back to those Pete Rose neutralized stats for a minute. Rose,of course, had an amazing 4,256 hits (most ever), 746 doubles (2nd), he scored 2,165 runs (6th) and totaled 5,752 bases (7th).

Neutralized — all those numbers go WAY up. He suddenly has 4,525 hits. His 789 neutralized doubles would be just three behind Tris Speaker (meaning, no doubt, Rose would have stuck around long enough to break THAT record too). His 2,362 runs would be No. 1 all time. His 6,088 total bases would be third behind Hank Aaron and Stan Musial.

Rose reached base 5,929 — already 330 more times than any player in baseball history. Neutralized, you could predict him to have reached base more than 6,300 times in his career.

The point is simply this: Pete Rose was probably a better player than you think.

We are coming on 25 years of Pete Rose’s banishment, which seems unreal to me. It was 1994, I was working for an afternoon paper called The Cincinnati Post and was given the seemingly lousy task of trying to sum up the five-year anniversary of Rose’s suspension. At the time, Rose was refusing all interviews so there weren’t many options. We decided it would be worth it for me to go down to his restaurant in Florida and watch the man in action. He was doing a sports radio talk show from his restaurant. We figured it would make a good story just to stand back and observe.

When I got there — I’ve written about this before — the waitress asked me where I wanted to sit (I got there early; the place was empty). I told her what I was doing, and she said, ‘Well, Pete’s sitting right there so just go talk to him.” I told her that Pete wasn’t doing interviews and I really didn’t want to bother him and then be asked to leave the restaurant. She didn’t seem to follow what I was saying.

She said: “Yeah, but he’s sitting right there, why don’t you go talk to him?”

So I went to talk him fully expecting the brush off or the chase out. Instead, he kicked out a chair and told me, “Have a seat.” Rose spent the next three hours or so regaling me with stories and lies, memories and exaggerations, charts (yes there were charts) and observations, bitter feelings and hopeful cliches. At the end, there was no story to write.There was only a story to type. For the first time — but not the last — he had gift wrapped a fully-formed tornado of baseball fascination.

At that time, Rose was still insisting that he never bet on baseball at all. Later, he would admit to betting on baseball, later still to betting on the Reds, later he conceded that, yeah, actually he had a large standing bet on the Reds to win every night.*

*Rose has never admitted to betting on the Reds to lose. This is a pretty significant point of contention. Many people think Rose’s competitive personality and (admittedly confusing) love of the game would never ALLOW him to bet on the Reds to lose — that is to say that somewhere in that spaghetti maze of principles and ideals Rose believes in (or doesn’t) is a do-not-cross line that simply would not let him bet on his own team to lose.

Others say that’s ridiculous, he was a compulsive gambler who was often over his head and betting on the Reds to lose would have been too tempting.

Either way, Rose has given out more admissions than The Ohio State University but he continually insists he never bet on the Reds to lose — it’s the one constant. And after 25 years nobody has been able to prove otherwise.

The admissions and apologies through the years have been utterly Pete Rose, which is to say that the admissions always sounded incomplete and the apologies disingenuous. That’s Rose. He was a hustler, always. In the end, the hustling led him to a metal chair in a memorabilia store in Las Vegas where he signs autographs and smiles for photographs while barkers outside shout, “Come on in and see the Hit King!”

On the field, though, that hustling made him a singular player, a whirlwind who was always looking to take a little bit more than you were willing to give.

Rose as player: He is somewhat hard to explain to a younger generation. He ran full speed to first base on walks. He wasn’t the first to do it, nor the last (Steve Sax idolized Rose and would run to first on walks too), but it was tied up in his psyche. People thought that running to first base on walks thing was just shtick. They were right. It was just shtick. But when you repeat the shtick enough times, it becomes a part of who you are. Rose always ran to first. He did it because it helped make him famous and because it ticked off the other team and because every now and again — maybe once a season, maybe less — he might make it to second base because the pitcher and catcher weren’t paying attention. Most of all he ran to first on walks because Harry Rose wanted him to. Rose’s father is a big part of the story.

Rose hit those 746 doubles because he was always thinking about the extra base — not just in April when the weather was cool and his body still felt springy but in the irrepressible heat of late August when he felt like one giant bruise. He took the extra base when the score was close and the base mattered, but he also took it when the game was out of hand and the only person who cared about that base was Rose himself. He went five-for-five eight times — more than anyone ever — because he CARED about getting that fifth hit, no matter the score. Selfish? Yes. But Joe Morgan said that he only became a great player when he became more selfish like that, when he started to care about EVERY at-bat the way Pete did.

In short, Rose was a man obsessed by the game in the truest definition of that word — obsessed, adj., to be preoccupied continually, intrusively and to a troubling extent. He always knew his batting average; every day he figured it along with his other stats. He always knew the stats of the people he considered his adversaries. Garvey. Schmidt. Stargell. He could make a comparison at any moment. He did not sleep much.

He would show up at the park early every day. Early for others was late for Rose. He would take batting practice and fielding practice with a crackling energy, as if it was the first time. He would play every game, no matter how he felt, no matter how far ahead his team might be in the standings. “Pete, I’m sitting you today,” Sparky Anderson would tell him repeatedly toward the end of the 1975 season with the Reds up 20 games. “Like hell you are,” Rose would shout back.

He would run to first on walks, run out every fly ball, attack the ball on defense. He broke up the double play, and he dived head first even when there was no play, and he crashed into catchers who dared block the plate. People have always made a big deal about him running over Ray Fosse in the All-Star Game but what they never seemed to understand was that Rose did not have a choice in the matter. Fosse was blocking the plate (illegally, Rose still insists, since Fosse did not have the ball) and Rose HAD TO run him over. That’s where the story began and ended for Rose. You say it was just an All-Star Game? You say it was just an exhibition? You say it needlessly endangered the career of an exciting young player (who Rose had to his house for dinner the night before)?

See, you’re missing the point.

Fosse was blocking the plate. Rose HAD TO run him over.

Obsessed. He would sit in the dugout when his team was at bat and chatter incessantly and calculate stats in his mind and and think about lines he could use with reporters after the game. He closely watched teammates and looked for ways to help them — every teammate, seemingly, has a story about advice Rose offered. To this day, Rose is still ticked off that Ken Griffey took the advice of Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench and decided t sit on the last day of the 1976 to protect his batting title (Bill Madlock got four hits and took it away from Griffey, who entered the game late but could not salvage the title).

“No offense to Joe and Johnny, they were two of the greatest players this game has ever known,” Rose grumbles. “But what the (bleep) do they know about winning a batting title? I know about winning batting titles. I would have told Griffey to start the game and WIN his batting title. He should have asked me.”

When the games ended, Rose would recap the game with reporters (who generally loved him), with teammates, with friends, with anyone who would listen. Then he would go park his car in his driveway and find the West Coast game and listen to Vin Scully or whoever else until past midnight. Then he would go inside and replay the game in his mind.

All the bad things — the gambling, the womanizing, the shady company he kept — were (it always seemed to me) ways to keep from going crazy when he wasn’t playing baseball. The game was the thing that challenged his every fiber, the thing that made him whole, and if he’s in the right mood Rose will admit that he wasn’t much of a man away from the field. He was an inattentive father, a lousy husband, an addicted gambler, a public liar. On the baseball field, he was his best self.

His father, Harry, made him that way. They called Harry Rose, “Big Pete” He was the toughest man on the West Side of Cincinnati. Everybody said so. Big Pete made sure his son learned how to switch-hit, made sure he took every advantage, made sure he ALWAYS fought back. Big Pete made sure his son played ball all summer — they never once went on a summer vacation and Big Pete had his son repeat a grade rather than miss baseball for summer school. Yes, Big Pete raised his son to be a damn ballplayer. And Pete Rose became a damn ballplayer.

Rose has often wondered out loud how much different his life might have been had Harry Rose lived. The is Rose at his most poignant and self-conscious. Harry died of a massive heart attack when Rose was 29 years old and, already, a big league star. “He would have straightened me out,” Rose insists. “He would never have let me get out of control.”

Rose, of course, did go out of control. Divorce. Parent issues. Bad friends. Gambling debts. And along he way he broke baseball’s strictest rule.

Rule 21-d (second paragraph): Any player, umpire or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.

Out of context, this seems kind of a draconian rule. At its extreme, that should mean a dollar bet with your childhood friend should get you permanently banned. At its extreme, that should mean that being in a fantasy baseball league should get you permanently banned. At its extreme, that should mean that saying to your manager, “Bet you a quarter I get a hit here,” should get you permanently banned.

But the rule is there because in 1919 several Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers and mobsters to throw the World Series. There was a no-tolerance policy after that black mark on the game, and the resulting rule offers no appeal, no parole and no forgiveness. Let’s make it clear: Rose’s gambling was not as benign as the examples in the last paragraph. He has admitted that as manager of the Reds he had a sizable and constant bet on his team to win.*

*It is important, by the way, the Rose bet on the Reds games. Betting on baseball games you are NOT involved with carries only a one-year ban.

Did his betting cause Rose to manage differently than he might have otherwise? The question doesn’t really matter — the rule is unambiguous — but I have never thought so. I am not downplaying what Rose did. He knew the rule intimately and broke it. I’m just saying that I don’t think he managed any differently. I’ve heard the possibilities about pitcher usage and lineup changes and bad moves meant to win a single game (or lose one). I just don’t believe them. I think Rose bet on baseball because he had a gambling sickness. I don’t think it affected him as a player or manager.

Others, of course disagree.

And — now what? Of course, the rule states very clearly what happens when you bet on a game you’re involved with: You “shall be declared permanently ineligible.” By the way, you will notice the rule does not say anything at all about a “lifetime ban.” The word “lifetime” does not appear at all in the entirety of Rule 21. I’ve heard people say that Rose should only be eligible for the Hall of Fame after he dies (thus serving a lifetime ban) but that’s not what the rule says.

Permanently ineligible. End of statement. No runs. No hits. No errors.

But, let’s talk about fairness. We all know what the rule says. But does it feel like this punishment for Rose fits the crime? Should the punishment for THROWING THE WORLD SERIES be the same as the punishment for betting on a team you manage to win?

Rose bet on baseball games. That’s bad. And the punishment has been severe. For almost 25 years he has been banished from his game, his name thrown off the Hall of Fame ballot, his presence unwelcome even in the ballpark that was on a street named for him. This is a particularly harsh punishment for Rose, who breathes baseball. It would not be so severe for someone who cheated baseball and didn’t care about the game.

Every so often in the last quarter century, Rose was told by any number of people that there was a way to get back in the game. He needed to apologize, no, he needed to apologize more intently, no, he needed to come clean, no he needed to come cleaner, no he needed to keep apologizing and keep coming clean. It did not seem to matter much to people that coming clean and apologizing are two things Pete Rose does poorly. His efforts, predictably, fell short and it all got him nowhere.*

*Let me add something here: I think it would have gotten him nowhere no matter what he said. This is the larger point. I don’t think Pete Rose could have apologized sincerely enough or come clean thoroughly enough to change his fate. I think the “all he needs to do is apologize” crowd were never willing to meet him in the middle.

Rose supporters often point out that murderers and drug dealers and violent criminals tend to get shorter sentences than Rose. I don’t think that’s a particularly valid comparison — taking Rose off the Hall of Fame ballot and refusing him work in baseball is not the same as putting him in jail.

But it does get at a general point. We tend to believe as a country that, most of the time, even for dreadful wrongs, there’s a way back. There are second chances. And those second chances are not just given to people who apologize in a fulfilling way or have a gift for seeming contrite.

Pete Rose played baseball with an intensity and love that might be unmatched in the game’s history. He cracked more hits and reached base more times than anyone ever. He represented a way to play baseball that inspired millions of people. Then, he gambled on games, breaking one of baseball’s most cherished rules. Rose is 72 years old now, and I think it’s time to let him back into the game. I don’t think anyone should ask him to apologize again or come any cleaner than he has. I don’t think anyone should expect Pete Rose to be something that he is not. It has been almost 25 years. He has paid his debt.

131 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. pilonflats - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    no.

    • bigharold - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

      Ah, .. you can always count of Rose as a “red meat” topic.

      • okwhitefalcon - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Indeed.

        C’mon Joe, you’re better than this.

        This is beyond a dive for clicks, it’s a cry for help.

      • thomas844 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Well, you clicked and commented on it, didn’t you?

    • moogro - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      The Father Figure. “Rose’s father is a big part of the story.” That makes it all OK.

  2. chip56 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Pete Rose accepted a lifetime ban from baseball. It wasn’t levied against him, he didn’t fight it, he accepted it in exchange for concessions from MLB about keeping the details about his gambling private. They’ve kept up their end and so should he.

    As I understand the term “lifetime” that means the ban expires when he does.

    • alang3131982 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      I dont get the point of this post. I also dont really care about Pete Rose or his illegibility (he was well before my time).

      however, if you’re going to make an argument shouldnt you have an actual fact to back it up? All Pos is saying is that he believed Rose didnt bet against his team, that Rose probably didnt manage any differently while he was betting on his team…

      Rose accepted a punishment. He wasnt coerced, new information has not come to light. Unless there’s something new here, what’s the difference now versus 24 years ago? How do you define a suspension for someone who only bet on their team and didnt let it affect how they managed? It’s easy for Rose to come clean once the statute of limitations is up….he didnt seem so willing to come clean 25 years ago when there were fines/imprisonment on the line.

      • chip56 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        I agree. Whether Rose bet on the Reds or not is irrelevant to the point that Rose accepted the terms of the ban.

    • jwbiii - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      You have been misinformed.

      Peter Edward Rose is hereby declared permanently ineligible in accordance with Major League Rule 21 and placed on the Ineligible List.

      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-08-25/sports/8901070788_1_peter-edward-rose-special-counsel-major-league-baseball

      Permanent. As in Joe Jackson permanent.

      • mgv38 - Nov 14, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        But he can apply under rule 15(c) for reinstatement and removal from the ineligible list. That was part of the agreement with the Comissioner he struck in 1989.

    • Marty McKee - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      He didn’t fight it, because Giamatti agreed to let Rose back into the game after a period of a year or five years or whatever. But Giamatti died, and Vincent reneged on the deal.

      That’s a question that hasn’t been considered enough, I think. Why would Rose willingly agree to a permanent ban from baseball?

      There’s only one answer. Because he knew it would not be a permanent ban. He couldn’t have foreseen a Vincent doublecross.

      • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        And why agree to a ban but continue to say he didn’t bet on baseball? I think Pete was presented with a deal to help MLB get him out the game but give him a chance down the road to redeem himself in some way. That never came along though once Giamatti died.

      • yournuts - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        Says who?

      • jwbiii - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        If Giamatti and Rose had an agreement to reinstate Rose, there only two guys in the room at the time. One of them died a week later and I wouldn’t trust the other as far as I could throw him while he was sitting in a Cadillac. If you do, please explain why.

      • mgv38 - Nov 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM

        There is absolutely no evidence of such an agreement. And Rose can still apply for reinstatement, if he wants back in as badly as we are led to believe.

    • raysfan1 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:15 PM

      It is not a lifetime ban, however. It is a permanent ban. Joe Jackson has been dead almost 60 years and remains ineligible for the HoF.

  3. wallio - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    if this isn’t a troll post I don’t know what is.

    Where’s my popcorn?

    • bigharold - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      Whats the over/under on post??

      I’m thinkg 85, .. I’ll take the over.

      • aceshigh11 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        Another degenerate bleepin’ gambler!

      • bigharold - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        Mom?? Is that you??

  4. aphillieated - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Ruben Amaro can only wish.

  5. perryt200 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    i agree with “permanently ineligible”

    There is only one rule that uses that phrase. If you are dumb enough to break it, live with the consequence.

  6. sdelmonte - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    Sorry, Joe. He knew the penalty when he committed the crime. A penalty that is still rightly on the books. For a crime that is, from where I sit, the only one that can truly undermine any sport. That he didn’t bet against his own team is irrelevant. The potential of his being coerced into doing so was real.

    Let him into the Hall. Establish his place in the game as a player. But leave him forever on the sidelines for his deeds.

  7. rickdobrydney - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    No—- Lifetime ban is a lifetime ban —And, for the record , Rose played most of his career on billiard ball, astro-turf like surfaces —-

    • Nick Doran - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      In baseball a lifetime ban is certainly NOT a lifetime ban. There have been about 50 players, coaches and owners placed on the Permanently Ineligible List (given a lifetime ban) throughout history — and the vast majority of them were later reinstated. Some of the people who were banned for life and later reinstated are Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, George Steinbrenner, Ferguson Jenkins, Marge Schott and Steve Howe. In fact, Pete Rose is the ONLY banned person since 1944 who has not been reinstated. So now you know that a so-called lifetime ban in baseball is actually not a lifetime ban at all.

      • yournuts - Nov 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        Says who? Mickey and Willie were NEVER banned from the HOF. You’re confused about a year or two year ban. Steve Howe was banned for drugs but Pete Rose BET on his team, the very team he was a manager of. It does’t matter who he bet on, gambling is being banned forever. If it wasn’t then every player would bet.

    • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      and the astro turf does what exactly? I see a guy playing baseball into his 40s after diving around on cement painted green for his entire life and that’s even more impressive to me.

  8. uwsptke - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    I understand the point that is trying to be made, but I received a migraine about halfway through due to the punctuation and grammatical issues this post has.

  9. steve7921 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    There is a guy convicted of importing 165lbs of drugs in the Hall of Fame but I guess gambling on baseball is worse. Rose has made many mistakes in this case but I have hard time keeping him out of the Hall. Out of baseball for good, yes but not the Hall.

  10. redsghost - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Joe Posnanski, sounds like voted Liberal Democrat. Boo-hoo…the poor guy! Life sentence in prison for murder? No problem, let’em out after 10 years, he’s paid his price! This is exactly what’s wrong with our society, no one wants to back up the “rules”. Why do you think all these young thugs do what they do? No bite in the punishment!

    • stex52 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Aren’t you late for a cross-burning or something?

      • redsghost - Nov 14, 2013 at 1:08 AM

        Depends, you on it?

    • skerney - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:12 PM

      Bicepts, is that you?

  11. kcroyal - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Great read once again. Pos is the best, and it’s not even close.

  12. 461deep - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    As a teenager in my home town we had a young pitcher signed by the Reds who eventually phased out. He was talking to a group one day and said to the effect, watch this kid we have coming up he is going to be a good one. That player was Pete Rose. With his number of hits in a low scoring era being laudable, I would note one thing in Pete’s favor as a singles hitter. He played on artificial turf most of the time which adds any number of singles through the infield every year. Over 24 years they add-up .I believe that Pete and Shoeless Joe Jackson gambling deserved the harshest of penalties, However, forever is a long time so I would say to Pete now, do a few things more as penance and in 3 years we will lift the ban. At that time I would also lift the ban on Jackson who while guilty certainly appears to have been more of a follower of the 1919 episode.
    God and our justice system forgive all but the most vile of criminals of their sins and crimes after time.

  13. wingsfan97 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Since rose and the black sox players are banned for gambling.then everyone who cheats(using peds) should be banned

    • alang3131982 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      why? PED usage does not equal gambling.

      Further, the penalty for gambling on your team = banishment; penalty for PED use = 50 games….

      Gambling and cheating arent the same….would you also ban everyone who corks a bat? How about ever pitch who scuffs the ball?

      • anxovies - Nov 13, 2013 at 6:35 PM

        Correct. A person who bets on his team hurts nobody. Using PEDs cheats every player who has ever played the game.

  14. ilovebaxter - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    This is stupid, just let him in. Who really cares? I mean who REALLY cares about what he did?!?!? Doesn’t affect anyones lives whatsoever. It’s a f@cking game people. I would like someone to explain to me how Pete Rose betting on his team to win a game directly affects them to the point that they don’t want him in “their” Hall of Fame.

    • largebill - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      Whether it affects me or anyone else personally has no bearing on the merits of the argument. It doesn’t affect me personally in the slightest if Sudden Sam McDowell gets in the Hall of Fame. That doesn’t mean it would be right to enshrine him. Sam was one of my favorites as a kid, but he squandered his career in a bottle. We can’t undo the past. What is done is done. Pete probably wishes he never bet on baseball. However, just as with Sam, Pete did what Pete chose to do.

  15. wheels579 - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Pete is getting what he deserves. Whether you like it or not, Pete earned this through his own arrogance. He signed that paper assuming he was bigger than the game and would eventually be let off the hook. He’ll be enshrined when he’s dead, and his actions over the past three decades are the reasons why.

  16. yahmule - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    He’s had Willie Stargell’s 1973 NL MVP Award for 40 years. Piss on him.

    • clemente2 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      True

    • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      Probably not, I bet it’s sitting in a memorabilia shop somewhere with a big price tag on it (check montgomery ohio, where his 4192 corvette is sitting).

      P.S. it’s not like he gave it to himself in 1943.

  17. bigharold - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    *Let me add something here: I think it would have gotten him nowhere no matter what he said. This is the larger point. I don’t think Pete Rose could have apologized sincerely enough or come clean thoroughly enough to change his fate. I think the “all he needs to do is apologize” crowd were never willing to meet him in the middle.

    I was with you 100% right up to that…

    I loved Rose as a player not merely because of his accomplishments but because Rose wasn’t a gifted athlete. He wasn’t particularly big, strong or fast. He could hit a baseball sure but it always seemed that he achieved what he did as the result of fierce desire and hard work. An everyman showing that one could do anything if one wanted it bad enough. It said; if he could do it anyone could, .. and not just about playing baseball.

    Perhaps what made him great made it particularly hard for him to fess up, .. so what? Let’s not forget that he did the crime then lied about for years, .. which is why he still out of baseball. I’m certain had he fessed up immediately he’d at least be in the HOF by now. It’s only recently that I heard him fess up and take full responsibility unequivocally. Rose is still in the predicament he’s in solely because of his actions.

    That being said, I’d not only be OK if Selig lifted his ban I think it’s the most opportune time. Selig is leaving do it as a final act for the greater good of baseball, deal with it before his successor has it dumped in his lap. Don’t leave this for the next Commissioner, it would be a huge burden. More importantly, Rose is 72, he ain’t going to live forever. I think he’s done his time. Allow him some measure of satisfaction before he’s dead and at least give him a shot at the veteran’s committee. It would be hollow recognition of his achievements and contributions to baseball if he were elected to the HOF posthumously. And, just as importantly it would be vindictive on MLB baseball’s part. In the end I think justice, as far as it concerns MLB, has been served. There is no point in string this out until it looks like vengeance.

  18. Professor Longnose - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    neutralized, Ty Cobb had 4595 hits. So in a neutralized environment, Rose wouldn’t even be the hit king.

    • largebill - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      Thanks for making that point. I was thinking same thing. Can’t just neutralize one player’s stats.

    • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      And neutralized, Rose had 4525 hits. If I know nothing of Rose, I know that he would have continued to play until he had another 70 hits, even if it took a few years. I’m not a big fan of the neutralized numbers as anything more than putting some context into a story.

  19. wheels579 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Whether you gamble on baseball to win or lose is irrelevant. If you’re involved in the game, the potential of debt leaves you vulnerable to outside influence and all integrity goes out the window. It’s the worst offense possible to the game and that is the reason for such severe consequences.

    • stex52 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      We have the data. It happened in 1919. We need to learn the lesson again?

  20. proudliberal85392 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    redsghost, was your comment part of today’s Faux News talking points?

    • 22yearsagotoday - Nov 16, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      It was part of the Losers Report.

  21. coltzfan166 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    He should be let back in. First of all, he never bet on the Reds to lose. Second, even if he had bet on the Reds to lose, how would a manager even be able to throw a game? It’s baseball. Just think about. What do you hold a gun to your pitcher’s head and make him throw all balls? It just doesn’t work that way.

    It amazed me that he gets treated way worse than the PED cheaters. These are guys that straight up cheated, yet could end up in the Hall of Fame.

    • largebill - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      “He should be let back in. First of all, he never bet on the Reds to lose. Second, even if he had bet on the Reds to lose, how would a manager even be able to throw a game?”

      Two points.
      1. How in the heck do you KNOW he did not bet on the Reds to lose? You may think he probably didn’t, but other than his worthless word that he didn’t we have no idea.
      2. Do you really have no idea how a manager could cause his team to lose? Heck, many manage that when they are trying to win. However, if intentionally wanting to lose a manager could leave the starter in too long, call for bunts, etc.

  22. xdj511 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I say this every time the word “lifetime ban” comes up. I think Pete should be allowed into the hall of fame after he dies. That is his penalty. He doesn’t get to be a hall of famer in his lifetime. Put Shoeless Joe in now. His lifetime ban was over a long time ago.

    • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      That doesn’t seem a little cold to you though? If he gets in (I believe he will some day, maybe I’ll be an old man by then, but you can’t keep him out forever), I hope they wait a few years until after he passes so it isn’t just like MLB is throwing a party the minute Pete’s dead and they can move on from the whole saga.

      • xdj511 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        Well yeah, not to put him in right after the funeral like Roberto Clemente, but some time afterward… let’s turn the thinking toward Joe Jackson now and worry about when the right time to put Pete in is after he’s gone.

  23. platediscipline - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Pete Rose is innocent. Well, no he is not. When Pete signed that fateful document back in 1989, he was banned forever from MLB for life. I have no problem with that. But they changed the rules on him. When he signed that document the HoF was still in the picture for him (something he feels is pretty important). You see, the HoF isn’t technically part of MLB at all. And before his 5 years were up, a NEW rule was put in place declaring Rule 21 listers were now ineligible for the HoF. Ouch! They left him with nothing. Pete Rose the player. Pete Rose the manager. Nothing. That’s okay. As recent votes have gone, the Hall isn’t really so great anyway. I believe that statistical summaries like Joe sighted have more weight anyway.

    • bigharold - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      I’ve always thought that Rule 21 was a direct result of Rose signing the agreement than insisting MLB had nothing on him. Had he fessed up then kept his mouth shut he’s likely be in the HOF by now, .. not in baseball but in the Hall.

      His actions as a manager are the reason he’s in the predicament he’s in but his actions as a player warrant his induction.

    • jm91rs - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      Thank you for making this argument. Pete accepted a ban that changed on him. The fact that the rule was modified specifically to keep him out is what tells me he has no chance until he dies or some of the MLB execs do, and that’s a sad thing.

  24. jm91rs - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    I’m a huge Pete Rose fan, he’s from my side of town and my dad worshiped the guy so I did too. I want him in the Hall, but I realize he’s become a crackpot old man that has done so much to harm his chances. It’s crazy how many people copy and paste the rule when talking about his ban, and equate him to the blacksox. For the most part, it seems like the only people vocal on the topic anymore are those that want to keep him out.
    I ask how will this change baseball, how will it affect anyone other than Pete Rose himself if they let him in? Rules change all the time. If baseball wants a rule that says he can’t be a manager or work for a team but can get in the Hall, they can do that. They won’t, they’ll wait til he’s dead. They’ll wait til Bud is dead, they’ll wait til everyone that saw Pete play is dead.
    It’s amazing to me how angry people get about this topic (although in the last 15 years or so it seems the angry ones are only the people that want him out). The guy is a scum bag of a person, but keeping him out of the Hall of Fame is a lousy attempt to erase the mark he left on baseball and there are just too many people that won’t forget Charlie Hustle.

  25. mungman69 - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    I don’t have time too read all of that crap and I don’t have time for Rose.

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