The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

Pete Rose and the Hall of Fame

January 7th, 2004 . by Alexander Fisher

I read an editorial today in the sports section about Pete Rose admitting that he had gambled on baseball. I understand that he has a new book out where he admits that he did place bets on baseball while he managed the Cincinnati Reds. The story that I saw made mention that although he had admitted wagering on baseball, he had not said that he was sorry. The author of the story is a sports editor for the paper. I must admit that I am a fan of the Cincinnati Reds and have followed them since I was a little boy. I was at a game in 1968 where Pete Rose played right field and was talking to my group of little leaguers in the bleachers between innings.

The article suggested that because Pete had not apologized, that somehow his admission that he had bet on baseball was somehow tainted. He went on to say that he had believed Pete had not bet on baseball before his admission in the book. He said that he had taken Pete’s word that he had been wrongly accused.

Even if Pete Rose had not bet on baseball, he had to admit that he did, so that he could possibly be included in the hall of fame in the future. Obviously, that’s what he wants. I am not saying that he did not bet on baseball, but because the commissioner’s office had been saying for years that he must admit that he had, there was no way that he could not admit to gambling and still have any chance at the hall of fame. CATCH 22.

My opinion of what Pete Rose’s punishment should be, now that he admits it, is continued banishment from working in the baseball operations of any team. He should not be allowed to manage or coach any team at any level of organized professional baseball. I think that he should be allowed to participate in special events and other duties that are consistent with being a retired superstar baseball player.

Pete Rose should be inducted into the hall of fame. There is no reason to believe that his accomplishments were not genuine and unassisted by gamblers or the act of gambling. That has been the case since his suspension from baseball. The major-league baseball commissioner’s office needs to rethink Pete Rose’s case by divorcing the gambler from the baseball player but not forgetting that gambling is against the rules for a reason.

Other ball players like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays in baseball and Alex Karras and Paul Hornung in football have been suspended for gambling or associating with gamblers. Of all the examples I am aware of, the eight 1919 Chicago White Sox players and Pete Rose are the only ones that weren’t reinstated at some point. I am sure there are other more unknown suspensions, but there is a difference with the White Sox and Pete’s case. The White Sox tried to lose. Pete Rose never tried to lose anything, that anyone can prove. I certainly don’t believe he ever has.

The only player on the 1919 White Sox that probably would have made the hall of fame was Joe Jackson. I believe the same is true for him. If his accomplishments are tainted, then he has no reason being in the hall, but there is reason to believe that his playing days were genuine, he belongs in there too.

Keeping Pete, and Joe Jackson, out of the hall of fame is denying history, almost selectively altering it to fit a sanitized ideal of baseball. I think some people have problems with Pete because he is cocky. That does not help his chances of being reinstated. He also never played for the Yankees, Giants or Dodgers. If he had, this never would have gone on this long or at all.

The hall of fame is about history and it shouldn’t be trying to create its own version of that history. No matter the moral outrage expressed by the media and others. Real baseball fans care about what happens between the white lines. The hall of fame should reflect what happened between them.

One Response to “Pete Rose and the Hall of Fame”

  1. comment number 1 by: Matt

    I’m a big time cincinnati sports fan, I think it’s worong that he can’t be in the hall, he learned his lesson.

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