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Wayward Rose 07/27/2009

Posted by sportretort in mlb, Sports, Uncategorized.
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It was Hall of Fame weekend for Major League Baseball.  Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice received their well deserved places of honor in the Hall.  And, for the 20th time, the debate about Pete Rose raged.

Charlie Hustle, as he was dubbed, was a rookie in 1963.  He personified baseball for 24 seasons.  His list of

Rose runs over Fosse to score the winning run in the 1970 all star game

Rose runs over Fosse to score the winning run in the 1970 all star game

accomplishments include:  Rookie of the Year (’63), NL MVP (’73) and World Series MVP (’75).  In addition, he won 2 Gold Gloves, 3 NL Battting titles, and was an All Star 17 times at a record 5 different positions.  Let us not forget that he is the all time hits leader in Major League history with 4,256 and also has the longest consecutive game hitting streak in the National League at 44 games.  He also won 5 National League Pennants and 2 World Series titles as a member of the Big Red Machine from Cincinnati.  His Manager, Sparky Anderson, once said of Rose that “he is the best thing to happen to the game since….the game.”  By the numbers, Rose is a Hall of Famer.  But…..

After his playing career ended, Rose became a manager.  While

SI cover hearolds Rose's transgressions

SI cover hearolds Rose's transgressions

a manager, Rose bet on baseball.  There is no alledged here because, after denying the allegations for 15 years, Rose admitted to it.  He bet on the game.  He bet on (but, according to him, never against) his own team.  He has been on the ineligible list for 20 years now.  Current rules prohibit anyone on that list from admittance into the Hall.  It’s a good rule.  And gambling is the biggest sin of all in baseball.  In 1919 several members of the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to throw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds as a way to get back at Sox owner Charles Comiskey, who was despised by many of the players.  The Black Sox scandal, as it became known, almost destroyed baseball.   Eight members of that team were banned for life from baseball, and gambling has been public enemy number one  in baseball ever since.  And that brings us back to Rose. 

There are indications that current Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is considering reinstating Rose, removing him from the ineligible list.  Apparently pleas have been made to Selig by Henry Aaron and several other Hall of Fame members on Rose’s behalf.  Even if Selig removes him from the list, there is no guarantee that Rose will be allowed into the Hall.  It seams that admitting he gambled is not enough for some.  Apparently Rose has not said “I’m sorry.”  Anyone who watched Rose play would know how out of character those words would be from him.  He was not a Black Sox type of  player.  No one has EVER accused him of throwing a game.  He got his nickname by ALWAYS giving a full out effort to win.  Hell, he even destroyed catcher Roy Fosse in the 12th inning of a meaningless All Star game in 1970 just to score the winning run.  Throw a game?  No way, even as a manager.

The time has come.  Twenty years is enough.  And this opportunity comes at an interesting time for baseball.  See, the

Rose and Bud Harrelson of the Mets mix it up in game 3 of the 1973 NLCS

Rose and Bud Harrelson of the Mets mix it up in game 3 of the 1973 NLCS

game is facing it’s own flaws.  The steroid debate is just beginning, and will rage for the next 20 years as players from this era retire and become Hall eligible.  The problem is that baseball was complicit in the steroids era with it’s silence, while cashing in on the long ball.  Baseball can not, and will not apologize for it’s role in the use of steroids.  Just as a man is flawed, the game is flawed.  Just as a man finds it hard to be contrite, the game finds it hard to be contrite.  Perhaps by embracing the man and his flaws, baseball can begin to move past its own flaws.  By forgiving Rose his flaws, Selig may just help baseball come to terms with itself. 

Come on, Commissioner.  It is time to welcome the hit king home.

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Comments»

1. Bill Bartmann - 09/02/2009

Great site…keep up the good work.


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