LOS ANGELES, July 27, 2013 — Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, period. His numbers speak for themselves, but numbers have never been the issue. Rose’s crime against baseball, when looked at in light of everything that has happened during the steroid era and is still happening today, seems pretty insignificant.
His crime against baseball was gambling. Specifically, gambling on baseball games. However, he did not do this as a player. The real issue is that Pete Rose did not just bet on random games, he bet on Cincinnati Reds games when he was the manager. As the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, the Dowd report, which MLB commissioned, concluded that Pete Rose was betting upwards of $10,000 per day on games in which he was managing.
Pete Rose was a player and managed for three seasons and managed parts of seven seasons in all before being banned.
There is no dispute over those facts. Pete Rose even claims to have bet on more games than the Dowd report says he did. Pete Rose negotiated his punishment, a permanent place on the ineligible list, with the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Bart Giamatti.
Both acknowledge that the ban is factually based, to a degree. The Dowd report said that Rose bet against the Reds, while Rose maintains that he never bet that the Reds would lose, always to win.
This is a big difference in opinions. On one hand, if Rose was betting on the Reds to win, the gambling only serves as more motivation to help his team win, but as a manager, there is really only so much you can do to make your team win. On the other hand, if he was betting on his team to lose, there are countless ways a manager can take action or not take action to try to make his team lose.
Now, regardless of whether he bet to win or lose baseball games, he did so as a manager. As a player, the only thing he was ever guilty of was hustling too much, which earned him the nickname, Charlie Hustle. As a player, he never jeopardized the integrity of the game.
Pete Rose holds the hits record, which is one of the more hallowed records in baseball. The number 4256 is a number that all great hitters will strive for in their careers, however, it is questionable as to whether any player will ever actually eclipse it. Rose also holds the records for games played, at-bats and plate appearances. Even with steroids, the bloated players of the 80s and 90s could never get close to Pete Rose’s hits record.
As a player, Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. As a player, Rose’s jersey deserves to be officially retired. As it is, the Reds have not allowed a player, other than Rose’s own son briefly, to wear the number 14. When the Reds built their new stadium in 2003, they put two gigantic baskets with seven bats in each one on top of the stadium in centerfield to honor Rose without violating the ban on Pete Rose.
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