Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First to Third: It's Time for Pete Rose's Return

Pete Rose is the greatest Hall of Fame eligible baseball player not enshrined in the Cooperstown. Is that about to change? The baseball rumor mill was buzzing this weekend that baseball commissioner Bud Selig was considering reinstating baseball's all-time hits king, making him eligible for the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is a place to honor the game of baseball and to tell its story. That's why it's time to lift Rose's ban and allow him to assume his place in Cooperstown. I've always been a believer that the Hall of Fame was incomplete without Rose, who totaled 4,256 career hits, to lead everyone who has ever played the game. He's the all-time leader in plate appearances and games played and ranks in the top 10 in doubles, runs scored, total bases, and OPS. He went to 17 all-star games, was a Rookie of the Year, an NL MVP, a World Series MVP, and two-time gold glover. His on-field impact was extraordinary.

I don't think baseball should be in the business of judging a person's character, and clearly Rose was a bit flawed - but who isn't? There are cheaters and drunks in the Hall, isn't that right Gaylord Perry, Pud Galvin, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, et al? I know the argument against Rose is that he bet on the game and thus challenged its integrity, but after years of lying, Rose finally came clean in 2004. That doesn't mean we have to forgive Rose, but the baseball Hall of Fame is a place for storytelling and to honor the history of the game, whether we like it or not.

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Mike Colligan said...

Maybe Selig is beginning to anticipate the members of the "Steroid Era" inevitably being admitted to the Hall? They threatened the integrity of the game and if they're allowed, it's probably not fair to make Rose follow a different set of rules.

Rob Burckhard said...

Mike - I completely agree with you. As I've said before, there are cheaters in the hall of fame and while Rose did something different than the steroid users, they certainly should play by the same rules.

Fineblogsite said...

When will he be forgiven? If Roger Clemens makes the hall before Rose does, it will expose a truth we all have known for years. Hypocrisy rules our beloved sport. Also, those uniforms…. WOW. Friggin Awesome.

Marc Edelman said...

Great piece. While we are talking about forgiveness, how about Shoeless Joe and Buck Weaver from the 1919 White Sox?

Anonymous said...

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