Pete Rose

September 26, 2009 · 1 comment

in MLB

Charlie Hustle. To most baseball fans, that's all you need to say. The nickname alone conjures up images of a mop-topped, clay-stained uniform flying into third base or home plate with reckless abandon. As soon as the first pitch crossed the plate, there was no let up in his play until the final batter was retired. Pete Rose, as a player, was a shoo-in to the Hall of Fame. But that certain path was detoured after Pete Rose, the manager, was tangled up in a gambling scandal that ultimately led to his banishment from the game of baseball. Twenty years after his lifetime ban, the debate still rages. Is there a place for Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame?

Career Statistics
3562 14053 2165 4256 746 135 160 1314 198 .303 .375 .409 .784
  • 2 Gold Gloves (1969, 1970)
  • 1 Hutch Award (1968)
  • 1 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1969)
  • 1 MVP (1973)
  • 1 Roberto Clemente Award (1976)
  • 1 Rookie of the Year (1963)
  • 1 Silver Slugger (1981)
  • 1 WS MVP (1975)
  • 17 All-Star Selections (1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985)


by Jonathan Brown

There should be a photo of Pete Rose next to the term "tragic hero" in the dictionary.  Pete Rose is the MacBeth of pro sports.  Hubris?  Check.  Downfall caused by his own actions?  Check.  Understands the inevitability of his fate?  Check.  Faced with a monumental decision between right and wrong?  Check.  Learns from his mistakes?  Eh...

Obviously, the Pete Rose debate is not one about statistics.  There's not a single person on the face of the Earth who would disagree that Pete Rose accomplished more in baseball than any other player in the history of the game.  The list of Rose's accolades and superlatives is longer than a Cheesecake Factory menu.

The guy played just about every position.  He managed.  He played and managed at the same time!  And those 4,256 hits...I don't think someone will ever do that again.

And no, the Rose debate is not about ethics and sports.  The Pete Rose debate is about the game of baseball.  And baseball is bigger than any single player and any single incident.  It's about the past and the future.  It's about the sanctimony of the game itself.

Baseball has seen many ugly incidents, but the biggest sin anyone can commit in baseball is putting the integrity of the game in doubt.  The 1919 Black Sox did just that and that's how the Commissioner role came to be.  The role of the Commissioner is to protect the purity of the game.  You can't fault Bud Selig or his predecessors for ruling and upholding Rose's lifetime ban from baseball.

I consider myself a baseball purist.  I don't like inter-league play.  I don't care for the wildcard.  I despise the designated hitter.  The steroid scandal that has plagued the sport lately hurts me deeply.  I want the game to be clean.  I want the history, tradition and romanticism of the sport to live on strong.  I like to think that I'm passing the sport to my daughter by taking her to Spring Training games every year (so far she just likes the cotton candy and the atmosphere).

Unlike Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens, Pete Rose played the game clean.  He amassed his records the old-fashioned way—with heart and hustle, just like you're told as a kid.  He didn't need the extra muscle to beat you.  He just needed another chance.  He was simply the best player on the field in every game.

But we need a compromise.  What Pete Rose did was wrong, but is it any more wrong than what Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens did?  Pete Rose's record breaking output wasn't an affect of his gambling habits.  Pete Rose, the baseball player, accomplished god-like things on the baseball diamond.  For those feats, his legacy should be recognized and celebrated in the Hall of Fame.  But that doesn't mean Pete Rose the person needs to be respected in the same manner.

I believe Pete Rose's bust should be in Cooperstown recognizing his achievements and his downfall.  His bust should bear a Scarlett Letter of sorts carrying a message to the kids saying that even though Pete Rose was an incredible ball player, he made mistakes and is paying the consequences for his actions.  Pete Rose should not be invited or allowed to attend the induction ceremony.  His bust should just appear one day without pageantry.

In my opinion, that is a fair outcome.  You see, Pete Rose wants the fanfare of induction day.  He wants the public recognition and the spotlight, evident by his grand-standing every year during induction week.  He wants validation from the writers, the fans and the sport.  And he shouldn't get that.

Pete Rose: Hall or No Hall?

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  • James Dunn

    Good insight, i'm using this information for my senior thesis, and i'm finding that you and I think alot alike in the overall scheme of baseball things. Your opinion (not like many others) is respectable and well-educated, Thanks!


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