On a warm September night, Pete Rose recorded hit number 4,192 to pass Ty Cobb to become baseballs career leader in hits. Some were calling Pete Rose one of the greatest hitters that have ever lived. How could you deny that with a career average of .303, career hits 4,256, 1,314 RBI’S, an OBP of .375, National League record of 746 doubles, only 1143 strikeouts, ML record of 3,562 career games played, a 44 game hitting streak, NL Rookie of the Year, NL MVP, World Series MVP, 3 times World Series Champion, and 17 time All-Star? Those were Hall of Fame numbers. He was Hall of Fame worthy and a first ballot Hall of Famer without a doubt. However, four years after he broke Ty Cobb’s record and after his retirement, Rose was banned permanently from any baseball activity, including Rose’s inclusion on a Hall of Fame ballot, because of betting on the game of baseball while he was a player and during his managing career. One of the biggest sins in sports, especially when you are playing the sport, is betting on your team. Give Rose some credit, he admitted he never did bet against his own team.
Twenty years have passed since Rose has been banned from baseball and ever since, Rose has been trying to get himself back into the game. Rose admitted in 2004 that he did bet on the game of baseball as he released a detailed description about it all in his autobiography My Prison Without Bars. Rose’s efforts to be reinstated in baseball began in 1997, but Bud Selig never acted on the application. Selig felt there wasn’t any reason for him to reconsider Rose’s punishment. In 2003, Selig said he considered Rose’s application to be reinstated, which had many believe that Rose’s ban might be lifted after all. Again, nothing did happen. As recent as a couple days ago, New York Daily News reported Selig was seriously considering lifting Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball. The next day, Selig shot down those rumors as it will appear Rose will remain suspended indefinitely.
Even though it does not look like Pete Rose will be reinstated anytime soon, should Rose be given a second chance. The answer is very difficult to assess. Every year when the Hall of Fame inductions are announced, Rose’s name is hot topic because many feel that he belongs in the Hall of Fame despite his blemishes. ” I would certainly like to see him in. He belongs in, really. His career is on that needs to right here in the middle of all of this,” quotes Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. Rose’s numbers speak on their own. His numbers are Hall of Fame worthy. But should all be forgiven?
The answer is no. Rose betted on baseball and it is looked upon as the worst thing a sports player can do. Rose laughed at the integrity of the game and ran all the way to the bank with it. The way Rose has handled himself by repeatedly denying he betted on baseball until he sold his confession when he wrote his book has also created a horrible representation by his peers and the Hall of Fame veteran committee. But is Rose a Hall of Famer and the answer to that is yes. Without looking at the negatives of Rose and only at his numbers as a player, Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. Rose was one of the greatest players of our past-time and that shouldn’t be forgotten. That being said, Rose should be reinstated, but with limited powers. Rose should only be reinstated to be eligible to be in the Hall of Fame only, nothing else. Rose should not be allowed to have any power in baseball activity ever again such as managing, a general manager, bench coach, or even a hitting coach. Rose does not deserve that kind of luxury. However, Rose does belong into the Hall of Fame. Rose was a baseball player who played with grit, passion, and amazing dedication. You could tell when he went out there to play, he put his whole soul into it. He should be rewarded for his work on the field, not off the field.
Pete Rose once said, “Somebody’s gotta win and somebody’s gotta lose and I believe in letting the other guy lose.” Right now, Major League Baseball is losing.