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Pete Rose still seeking the hall of fame

by Joe Tomlinson
Wed, Feb 26th 2020 12:00 pm
Pete Rose poses while a member of the Cincinnatti Reds; by the time of his retirement from playing in 1986, he led the MLB in all-time hits.
Pete Rose poses while a member of the Cincinnatti Reds; by the time of his retirement from playing in 1986, he led the MLB in all-time hits.

In light of the recent Houston Astros cheating scandal, Pete Rose has restated his case for finally being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The recent fallout over the Astros sign-stealing scandal in the 2017 World Series has led to much public outcry, especially after Houston was fined a mere $5 million for its misconduct. Although many members of upper management have been suspended and/or fired, there are still some who believe these punishments are not sufficient. 

Enter Rose, who put together a storied career with the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies as well as a brief stint with the 1984 expansion team the Montreal Expos. Over 23 years in the Major Leagues, Rose racked up 4,256 hits, 3,562 games played, 14,053 at-bats, 3,215 singles and 10,328 outs — all of which are the best all-time in MLB history. 

Rose also added three batting titles, three World Series Championships, one Most Valuable Player award and 17 All-Star selections at an unprecedented five different positions. 

Toward the end of the summer of 1989, Rose was served permanent ineligibility from baseball by the MLB due to accusations stating he bet on baseball games while playing for and managing the Reds. The accusations also claimed Rose gambled on his own teams among his other offenses. 

Two years later, the Baseball Hall of Fame passed a vote to keep people on the permanently ineligible list from achieving induction. Rose denied the accusations and labeled them false for years following the ban, but in 2004 he confessed he had in fact placed bets on baseball and the Reds. 

Rose no longer holds any pretenses that his behavior was excusable and in light of the recent Astros Cheating scandal he has no illusions of his status changing. Chances of Commissioner Rob Manfred seeing the Astros misdeeds as more flagrant than Rose gambling on his own team are negligible. 

“I understand the gambling in baseball, and I was wrong, absolutely wrong,” Rose told USA Today Sports in January. “There are no similarities in these two cases. The only thing is that we both got in trouble. We both made mistakes.”

Rose admits that since he entered the league, baseball has been closely intertwined with gamesmanship and cheating. Whether it be flashing signs from second base to home plate, stealing signs from the third base coach, corking batts, scuffing balls or utilizing performance enhancing drugs. 

Now that we live in a digital age dominated by electronics, people are finding new ways to cheat, with the most recent example coming from the Astros. “When you screw around with baseball,” Rose said to USA Today Sports, “baseball is going to come down hard on you. They came down hard on me. They came down hard on them.”

Although Rose commended the MLB for the quick action in addressing the Astros cheating scandal, he expressed concern over whether or not they are the outlier. One has to question if the Astros were the first to configure a system of stealing signs through technology and are the only team using such practices. 

Now in February, the MLB has officially neglected to punish any player on the Astros squad, which has prompted Rose’s lawyers to send a petition to commissioner Manfred. They claim that failing to punish anyone on the team for sign-stealing but banning Rose for over three decades for gambling is a gross miscarriage of justice. 

“There cannot be one set of rules for Mr. Rose and another for everyone else,” stated Rose’s reinstatement petition according to USA Today Sports. Rose is not embattled with the MLB per se, since he is not vying for any job or position associated with the league. Rather, Rose is concerned with his name being on the Hall of Fame ballot in order to let the Baseball Writers Association of America determine his eligibility.  

“Given that the BBWAA voters are the gatekeepers to the Hall for every other baseball player and manager the game has ever seen, including those implicated in the steroid era and those implicated in electronic sign-stealing scandals,’’ his lawyers claim, “it is now time for the voters to be allowed to decide the Pete Rose/Hall of Fame debate. Let the voters vote.”

Although each time Rose has sought reinstatement he has been flatly refused, this time around feels different. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon Feb. 8, to vehemently defend Pete Rose and demand that the 78 year-old all-time hit king be inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

Although he had a legendary career and has many people sympathizing with his case for the Hall of Fame, whether Rose becomes enshrined or a footnote in baseball history remains to be seen. 

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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