Jeff Pearlman

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Pete Rose belongs in the Hall

peterose

I just saw that Reggie Jackson came out in favor of Pete Rose being admitted into the Hall of Fame.

I agree.

Not for the standard-issue, he’s-really-a-great-guy-at-heart reasons, however. I’ve seen and heard Pete Rose up close, and the man is authentic, 100-proof slime. Hell, just read Pat Jordan’s 1989 GQ profile of Pete Rose, Jr., and you’ll need no more proof. Selfish. Greedy. Sleazy. Dirty. (Side note: I’ve always loved the story that a baseball lifer told me about Rose. The Reds were in Atlanta, and Rose turned to a writer and asked, “Hey, are we east or west of Houston?”). I remember the criticism Jim Gray endured after he undressed Rose during the ’99 all-century ceremony, and, well, I’m completely with Gray. Rose made his bed, and he more than deserves many of the consequences. If Rose’s remaining days are spent signing $10 baseballs outside of Tulsa’s Wal•Mart, I wouldn’t shed a tear.

So why does he belong in the Hall? Because if you examine the history of Cooperstown enshrinement, there’s a fine line placed between managerial records and player records. Joe Torre, for example, will never get in as a player. He will, however, certainly be elected as a manager. The same goes for Tommy Lasorda; for Bobby Cox; for Dick Williams. They’re in (or will be in) based on a their managerial skills—nothing more.

In this case, Pete Rose: Player belongs in the Hall with no debate. His statistics are unparalleled, his style of play revered, his status as a champion unquestioned. That he later gambled on the game as a manager should not impact these facts. You’re mad that he bet on baseball? Well, don’t vote for him as a manager.

Simple.

  • There’s an even simpler solution.

    It’s a lifetime ban, so enshrine him after he dies.

    For that matter, Shoeless Joe shoulda been admitted a long time ago.

  • jweb271

    Do we know that he wasn’t betting as a player?

  • jweb271

    “John Dowd, who authored the report chronicling Rose’s gambling as a member of the Reds, told “Cold Pizza” on ESPN2 that Rose was mostly right when he said he bet on every Reds game.

    Dowd told the program that Rose did not bet at all in the 1987 season when Mario Soto or Bill Gullickson pitched. He also said that Rose bet while he was playing.”

    For what it’s worth…

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2798498

  • With these things, “simple” usually means “oversimplified.”

    Dirk- It’s a permanent ban, not a lifetime ban. Just like Shoeless Joe’s.

    I think jweb’s comment pretty well handles Jeff. We don’t by any means know that he didn’t bet as a player either (or how about as a player-manager?).

  • *”Jeff’s argument,” not “Jeff.” That would be weird.

  • chris

    put him in and make the first sentence on the plaque “Banned for life for betting on baseball.”

  • Drew

    You know what’s funny? The guy has had infinitely more coverage for being the ‘banned guy who should be in the Hall of Fame’ than he would have simply by going in.

    The sad thing for us Reds fans is he has overshadowed everything this organization has done in the past 50 years. He’s more famous than Bench, Perez and Morgan (HOFers) and dwarfs good guys like Concepcion, Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Sean Casey, Ken Griffey Jr., etc.

    I don’t care what y’all do with him – but I’m sick of talking about him.

  • Barry

    Jeff,

    Do you have a link to the Pat Jordan story on Pete Rose Jr.? I can’t find it anywhere.

    Thanks,
    Barry

  • Yet Barry Bonds isn’t a HOF’er because he took supplements to make himself a better athlete, and to recover more quickly from injuries. I mean, yeah, I would much rather a guy in the HOF who took the integrity for the game for a joy ride around the gutter over a guy who did nothing that hasn’t done over the past 100 years in this game. Another brilliant point Jeff, kudos!

  • I really wish they’d bring back the Reggie bar.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life