For Fans Who Should Know Better

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Mudville: July 19, 2024 1:46 pm PDT


Thanksgiving is a time to come together.

MLB has come together with every gambling outfit out there and soon ballparks will resemble casinos. MLB came together last month with Charlotte’s Web to make it the official CBD of Major League Baseball.

MLB came together with FTX in a sponsorship deal and it resulted in those nifty FTX patches on all the umpire’s uniforms. How’d that work out?

Rob Manfred and his merry men seem to come together with anyone as long as there’s a good payday out there for them and any company they can to make a quick buck; yet baseball’s all-time hits leader still can’t sniff the Hall of Fame.

The bottom line is that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame plaque gallery and the plaque should simply state he was MLB’s all-time hit leader who was later suspended as manager for betting on games.

Turkeys are pardoned on Thanksgiving. Can’t we pardon Pete Rose?

When you go to the Hall of Fame you want to have all the info in front of you in the plaque gallery; it’s an awe-inspiring room and that means the good, the bad, and the ugly need to be represented.

Pete Rose is a slam dunk Hall of Famer, no question about it.

 If you are dumb enough to be betting on baseball when you are a manager, you should be banned; and 33 years is just about right.

In addition to being the game’s all-time hits leader, he also had the most at-bats in baseball history with 14,053. He also had the most plate appearances in baseball history with 15,890. He also played in the most games in baseball history with 3,562 games.

You can add all that to his plaque too.

And for those who say wait until his life is over, you know it was “a lifetime ban from baseball,” here’s what I’ve got to say about that: Shoeless Joe Jackson’s life has been over since 1951 and the Black Sox scandal player is still not in the Hall of Fame after his lifetime ban. It’s all just another bait and switch.

Just around Opening Day of next year Pete Rose will turn 82 years old. It’s time. He’s paid his gambling debt to baseball, being ostracized all these years. In 1989 Rose was permanently banned from baseball with the ability to ask for reinstatement after one year.

Here we are 33 years later and Rose remains banned from baseball.

It’s time to move on.

It seems like everybody gets a second chance and sometimes a third, or a fourth in America – except Pete Rose. Rose should appeal directly to the Hall of Fame to appear on the next veteran’s committee ballot.

When Rose recently wrote a letter of apology to Rob Manfred, the commissioner who makes deals with everyone, Manfred shot it down, saying to my friend Evan Drellich at the time, “I believe when you bet on baseball from a Major League Baseball’s perspective, you belong on the permanently ineligible list. I made it clear that I didn’t think the function of that baseball list was the same as the eligibility criteria for the Hall of Fame. … I think it’s a conversation that really belongs on the Hall of Fame board.’’

Remember Manfred is a lawyer and always talks like a lawyer; but it appears there is an opening there if the Hall of Fame board wants to give a little.

Player/Manager Pete Rose #14 of the Cincinnati Reds on the phone in the dugout during a game circa 1986 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rose managed the Reds from 1984-89. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Considering all the steroid and PED players eligible for the Hall, considering that Roberto Alomar’s plaque is still in the Hall of Fame, considering Omar Vizquel is on the current BBWAA HOF ballot, all that has to be taken into consideration regarding Rose getting a future slot on a veterans committee ballot.

It’s really not that hard.

Pete Rose bet on baseball. That’s a no-no, a disgusting, terrible no-no, but for the last 33 years he has paid the price of banishment.

Isn’t it time to un-cancel Pete Rose?

Isn’t it time to move on, but to move on warts and all, and let everyone who visits the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, one of my favorite places in the world, to learn of the Pete Rose story through his plaque? Have all the hits, have all the at-bats, have all the plate appearances, have all the games listed on the plaque – and then mention his gambling suspension in big letters.

By the way, Shoeless Joe Jackson’s 12 base hits in the 1919 World Series set a record that wasn’t broken until 1964, yet Kenesaw Mountain Landis imposed the “lifetime’’ ban. And as I said, Shoeless Joe’s life came to an end in 1951, 71 years ago.

None of this has stopped baseball from making a ton of money off Joe Jackson, including the highly successful Field of Dreams game in Iowa.

And just a head’s up here: if you disagree with me on all this that’s fine, everybody is entitled to an opinion – write your own column, but don’t expect me to respond to your comments, especially those who are in the habit of being professional trolls.

Take it somewhere else.

The bottom line here is that if we can bet on every aspect of baseball, things that don’t even make sense to bet on, Pete Rose should have a plaque in the Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a ballplayer. There are many Pete Rose fans out there and they should have the satisfaction of walking into the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery and seeing Pete’s plaque.

There was a time when baseball was all about the fans, and I was blessed to grow up in that era. I still remember walking onto the Yankee Stadium field – the real Yankee Stadium – with my dad, and exiting through the centerfield bleachers. It was quite a thrill.

Player/Manager Pete Rose #14 of the Cincinnati Reds is seen in his office prior to the start of a game circa 1984 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rose managed the Reds from 1984-89. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

As for the state of the game, Rose said that day: “I think there are a lot of good players out there. Secondly, I don’t think there are a lot of really good teams. There are more bad teams than good. Every hit is a home run, you get tired of watching the highlights. And the number of ballparks it’s a joke to pitch in: Philadelphia, Baltimore, Houston, Colorado and Arizona. And the baseball is juiced.’’

There you have it – a litany of what’s wrong with baseball from the guy baseball has made Public Enemy No. 1. And this was four years ago.

Baseball has so many other problems, bringing Pete Rose back into the Hall of Fame fold would be a good thing.

The Hall already has steroid and PED players in the Plaque Gallery, and in future years you can bet there will be plenty more. It’s only a matter of time before Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens get elected, and to be clear I have been voting for both Bonds and Clemens the last few years they were on the BBWAA ballot.

Maybe I’m a lot more forgiving than those who run baseball. Maybe that’s because I have huge respect for how Pete Rose played the game and the numbers he put up.

Just for fun, with all of those 4,246 hits Pete amassed during his career he struck out only 1,143 times.

One other point about Pete Rose.

He posted.

For example in 1965 with the Reds he played in all 162 games. He led all of baseball with 757 plate appearances, 670 at-bats, and 209 hits. He struck out 76 times. That was the most strikeouts he ever had in a season. Perhaps he wore down a bit coming to home plate 757 times. From 1965 to 1982 Pete Rose played in every game eight different seasons.

I also want to point out I realize Pete Rose is not a good guy. I am looking at this from a baseball perspective and from the perspective that Pete Rose has been on the outside looking in for the last 33 years.

Pete Rose #14 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on from the on-deck circle during a Major League Baseball game circa 1985 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rose played for the Reds from 1963-78 and 1984-86. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Pete Rose deserved to be punished. He was punished. The thing that meant the most to him, baseball, was taken away because of his actions. All I’m saying is that it is time to move on. Baseball cannot continue to be so hypocritical and keep Pete Rose banned when there is every which way to bet baseball these days. If you are dumb enough to be betting on baseball when you are a manager, you should be banned; and 33 years is just about right.

Let’s move on. Let’s end this tired story. Let Pete Rose have a plaque in the Hall of Fame. Let his fans come and see that plaque. It’s good for Pete Rose and it will be good for baseball.

In the end, the player known as Charlie Hustle committed a hustle that got him banned from baseball.

Remember my conversation with Pete that I mentioned earlier that took place back in 1989 in the manager’s office at Riverfront Stadium with several other writers from San Diego? Rose is not the sharpest tool in the shed. I remember sitting and talking to him in his office at Riverfront Stadium, and at the time, as I said, he was asking lots of questions about the team I covered; so, looking back, he probably had not yet placed his bet that night. There was still time to gather more info.

Pete Rose then started to tell a funny story about his days in high school, then stopped himself, and asked, “Was that the first time or the second time I was in 10th grade?‘’

It’s Thanksgiving, 33 years is enough.

Un-cancel Pete Rose.

45+ years, columnist at NY Post for the last 23 years prior to joining BallNine. Elected to the NY Baseball Hall of Fame. Former SportsTalk Host (KFMB), ESPN’s First Take and Cold Pizza contributor. Frequent guest on radio shows and podcasts nationwide. Author of seven books. Seen in episode 10 of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” (the one with Dennis Rodman). First baseball interview he conducted was with Thurman Munson. Now you know why he is America’s Most Beloved Sportswriter.

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