Long before we debated exactly how Barry Bonds head has expanded over the years, there was the Pete Rose controversy that shed a dark cloud over our national past time.
Here’s the abbreviated tale.
Pete Rose played in the majors from 1963 to 1986 for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos. During his time in baseball Rose won three World Series and broke lots of records; we’ll get to that in a bit. Pete eventually became manager of the Reds.
With all of his accomplishments, Rose was caught red handed in a big no-no in baseball – gambling on baseball games. Because of this he was banned from the game, which meant he could never set foot into Cooperstown.
For the last two decades the Rose saga has stirred a huge debate in baseball. Should he or shouldn’t he be reinstated into baseball?
Since the recent rumors that commissioner Bud Selig would be reevaluating the case (which happens every few years, and always ends with him saying no) we thought that we would weigh in and give our four reasons on why Charlie Hustle should be allowed back into baseball, which would pave the way for his rightful place into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
4. Look at Baseball’s professional sports peers.
Every professional sports team has some troublemakers, whether it’s in MLB, the NFL, the NBA or the NHL. As we all know, Michael Vick was recently reinstated after being convicted of dog fighting. And, speaking of the NFL, there was also the reinstatement of Pacman Jones and nothing ever happened to Leonard Little, who actually killed someone while drunk driving.
Then there was NBA star Jayson Williams who shot a limo driver and tried to cover it up. And, there was NHL player Mike Danton who was convicted on hiring a hitman to kill his agent.
It seems that if Selig’s peers won’t ban their less than perfect players for off the field activities far worse than gambling, than maybe Bud could forgive Rose.
3. Look at Baseball’s current, and future, Hall of Famers.
Baseball already, or will, have some shady people in Cooperstown. There’s of course Ty Cobb, who did not kill a man despite the rumors, but was a racist and was even accused of fixing games.
More recently the players that have tarnished the game forever by using performance enhancement drugs even stand a chance. It’s very likely that Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mark McGwire will get in. Even if they don’t, they’re still not banned. These guys took the purity out of the game, but it’s alright that they had help getting all those stats, because they didn’t break that no-betting rule posted on clubhouse walls.
2. Rose and the agreement with late commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.
Rose was banned by late commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti in 1989, who just also happened to be the dad of actor Paul Giamatti. However, it may not have been so black and white. Rose agreed to being banned from baseball and after one year would be eligible to apply for reinstatement if he got his life back on track. During this time Rose denied betting on baseball, but being backed into a corner, signed the deal believing that he would soon be back in in the game. Giamatti died eight days later and Rose is still banned.
Eventually, Rose came out and admitted that he had indeed bet on the Reds. In a way, Rose has done his end of the bargain, so it would only be fair for Bud Selig to investigate the matter.
1. What Rose did on the field.
This is the most important, and obvious, reason why he should be reinstated. Pete Rose played hard and was full of enthusiasm. He brought it every night. The guy won three World Series, a World Series MVP, two Golden Glove awards and more. Some believe that without him the Phillies would have never won their 1980 championship. OK, so he played with a heart, but his stats speak for themselves.
- Most career hits – 4,256
- Most career outs – 10,328
- Most career games played – 3,562
- Most career at bats – 14,053
- Most career singles – 3,215
- Most career runs by a switch hitter – 2,165
- Most career doubles by a switch hitter – 746
- Most career walks by a switch hitter – 1,566
- Most career total bases by a switch hitter – 5,752
- Most seasons of 200 or more hits – 10
- Most consecutive seasons of 100 or more hits – 23
- Most consecutive seasons with 600 or more at bats – 13 (1968-1980)
- Most seasons with 600 at bats – 17
- Most seasons with 150 or more games played – 17
- Most seasons with 100 or more games played – 23
- Record for playing in the most winning games – 1,972
- Only player in major league history to play more than 500 games at five different positions – 1B (939), LF (671), 3B (634), 2B (628), RF (595)
That’s a pretty good resume.
While Bud Selig may not be budging on Rose anytime soon, he should continue to consider it. I have a feeling that this debate will continue to haunt baseball, but lifting the ban would make Baseball just little cooler.
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