Pete Rose Pleads His Cooperstown Case
Pete Rose, the all time leader in hits, pleads for the MLB to hear his case: for over 18 years he has attempted to reverse his lifetime ban for gambling, but Bud Selig has refused to give him a hearing. And many hoped that the new, less vindictive, commissioner Rob Manfred would actually hear the case.
In an exclusive interview on Outside the Lines, Manfred stated, “I think that what will happen here is I will hear from Pete and his representatives. And there will come a point and time where I will have to decide that issue. I fully intend to decide it.”
And in an interview with USA Today, Rose talked about the process and his chance of being reinstated. After 26 years banned from baseball, he truly believed that Selig would have dealt with the case before leaving office. As for if he ever gets reinstated,”I just want to be on that writers’ ballot. Let the writers decide. If they want me in, I’m in. If they don’t feel I should be in, I can live with it.”
Manfred has not put a timetable on when Rose’s case will be heard, but this issue will not go away in 2015, especially since the All-Star game in Cincinnati will make the discussion even more prevalent — Rose has been allowed to participate in some of the festivities.
The main question is should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame: if everyone is just looking at numbers, it is a no brainer. He is the all-time leader in hits (4,256), hit over .300, second all-time in doubles (746), most games played (3,562), 17 All-Star appearances, NL MVP and three time World Series Champion. As for his crimes, he bet on his own team while coaching the Cincinnati Reds — they have never found proof he ever bet against his team.
Rose was a gambling addict. Should we really punish him for over 25 years because he had a problem? Yes, according to rule 21(d), “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
As Pete Rose once said, “I picked the wrong vice. I should have picked alcohol. I should have picked drugs or I should have picked up beating my wife or girlfriend because if you do those three, you get a second chance.” Certainly harsh words, but they are true: the Hall of Fame are not hallowed grounds — not even close if they let in the likes of Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker or even Orlando Cepeda.
But again, the MLB/writers’ hypocritical code that a crime against baseball is worse than a crime against society will probably keep the hit king away from Cooperstown. Like all of the steroid cases, add an asterisk if you must. But ignoring a dark side of your history will not make it magically disappear. There is a need to embrace a discussion of the crimes and have an open conversation about addiction, gambling and whatever else the league determines to be disreputable.
In the end, at least Manfred appears to be open to the idea.