Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pete Rose for Hall of Fame

Pete Rose, is a name synonymous with baseball. There is a growing campaign to get “Charlie Hustle” into the Hall of Fame. Well, there should be. His career stats are awesome and the “4256” hits speaks for itself. He has a first in at bats -14053, lots of singles -3215, and a great batting average -.303. With pure numbers, MVP awards, hitting and championships he would be in the HOF. What a career!

With the “Big Red Machine”, Peter Rose was a force to be reckoned with. The team with future Hall of Famer's Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Pérez, also supported by George Foster, César Gerónimo, Ken Griffey, Sr., Dave Concepción and of course Sparky Anderson. What a team! They dominated the MLB in the 70s with a record of 953 wins and 657 losses and the only National League team since expansion to win back to back World Series (1975/76).

In 1989 Rose voluntarily accepted permanent ineligibility from baseball in an agreement with Bart Giamatti for gambling on baseball. So what of these gambling charges. They are all true. So says Rose in My Prison Without Bars. However, nobody has found any time when Rose bet against himself or the Reds. That would be unthinkable. As a player with the personality of a five year old towards winning, failure is not an option. He knew he could win and put all his effort into winning.

Baseball players have had difficulties on the field and off in the past. Fergie Jenkins was suspended in 1980 on drug issues of cocaine, marijuana and hash at customs in Toronto. Jenkins got reinstated. He’s in the Hall. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were suspended for working at a casino (albeit in a stupid charge). They got reinstated. They are in the HOF. Do I need mention Ty Cobb? One of the best ever to play the game and one of most contentious on and off the field. He was suspended by the league for beating a fan. Cobb was lucky not to be in jail. He once beat up an umpire. Ty Cobb was elected to the inaugural class of the HOF with the highest number of votes. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, first commissioner of baseball held hearings on Cobb and Tris Speaker who were accused of betting on a game they were both playing (Detroit vs Cleveland). They got out of it by Speaker refusing to testify. Cobb and Speaker are in the Hall for play on the field.

Pete Rose should be found eligible again for his actions on the field. He never hurt the game. He should be in the Hall of Fame like the others. It’s the right thing to do. According to the agreement for ineligibility, Rose can apply for reinstatement every year. He has been denied so far. Pete Rose should be accepted for his work between the lines. Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.

John the Tomahawk


Rick Blechta said...

Pete Rose won't get in the hall, simply because of all the problems MLB is having over performance-enhancing drug use. How many potential Hall of Fame-ers have been implicated in that? Unfortunately, Pete is presently a man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Will Braund said...

When you argue a case it's good to cite precedents. The closest parallel to Rose would have to be Hal Chase, who may have been the best fielding first baseman of all time, though many would say it was George Sisler. Chase hit over 300+ four times (five if you count a year in the Federal League). He was called Prince Hal during his playing days because of his tremendous popularity. Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson both called Chase the best first baseman they ever saw.
But Chase was often accused of "laying down" in games. For a spectacular fielder, he made a surprising number of errors (402 in 1,815 games). Fred Merkle, the Giant who supposedly cost his team the 1908 pennant when he ran off the field to avoid a mob and failed to touch second base before his teammate crossed home plate, was a much weaker fielder but he made just 252 errors in 1,547 games.
Chase would try for a ball that was hit to second base or go in for a bunt that the pitcher could easily field and leave first unattended, or he would unnecessarily stretch for balls that he could have easily caught without stretching and cause his foot to come off the bag. Eventually he was suspended for “indifferent play.”
Opposing players would yell, “Well Hal, what are the odds today?” Chase was fairly open about his association with gamblers, though ballplayers and gamblers often mixed in pool halls in the early days.
He was almost suspended in 1918. A teammate, pitcher Pol Perritt claimed that on the day of a doubleheader in Cincinnati Chase had asked him which game he was going to pitch. Perritt said he didn't know, so Chase said, "I wish you'd tip me off, because if I know, and can connect with a certain party, you will have nothing to fear." But Chase got off because his accuser, Cincinnati manager Christy Mathewson, was in France with the U.S. Chemical Warfare division.
Later Chase would be accused of being an intermediary between gamblers and the 1919 'Black Sox'. He was never actually kicked out of baseball, he was simply dropped from the lineup after 110 games during the 1920 season. His average was .284 at the time and he'd hit .291 the year before.
Had Chase not gotten involved in gambling, the first captain and superstar of the New York Yankees (still called the Highlanders when Chase joined them) would certainly be in Cooperstown today.
Should Rose get in? It's supposed to be about fame, not just talent. Chase was one of the most famous and popular players of his era but he didn't get in – even though Tinkers, and Evers, and Chance got in because of their fame and only Chance deserved to.
Sure, Rose didn't bet against his own team but he did bet on games in which they played. Did he try harder or manage more carefully in the games he bet on? If Chase isn't in - and the Oldtimers Committee has had plenty of chances to put him in - then Rose probably shouldn't be either.

Rick Blechta said...

Looking at the preceding comment, it should be fairly obvious that Will gets paid by the word...