Ah jeez, Pete Rose is at it again…

It’s one of the rites of spring. Pitchers and catchers report to Florida and to Arizona for workouts. Hot stove discussions ensue over who will make that massive blockbuster trade that will help their team get over the proverbial hump.

And once again, we hear from Pete Rose.

Rose, for those of you who are too young to remember, was a professional baseball player with the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos. He ran the bases like his ass was on fire, he could hit the ball into any gap on the field, and he participated in several World Series, including winning three – 1975, 1976, and 1980.

He had more hits in Major League Baseball than any other man – 4,256 (although Ichiro Suzuki’s combined Japanese and US hit total is the highest for a professional baseball player). He would later transition to a managerial role with the Cincinnati Reds.

And here’s where the story twists.

Rose had a gambling problem. And within that gambling problem, he bet on baseball games. Whether he bet on his own team to win or to lose or whatever, he still broke the big rule of major league baseball – you don’t bet on games. Not for charity, not for match sticks, no.

Because of the report that detailed his betting actions, Rose was put on the permanent ban list by then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti. This meant that Rose could not appear in any association with Major League Baseball, and he could not be voted into the Hall of Fame. Over time, some allowances were made for Rose to appear as a television analyst, and he did appear at an All-Star game or two as part of an anniversary lineup.

Today, however, Rose wants back into Major League Baseball – if for nothing else, to be a Hall of Famer. And with that, he has petitioned to have his name removed from the ineligible list.

The argument Rose uses is that none of the Houston Astros players were banned from baseball for their sign-stealing. The Astros’ World Series victories weren’t rescinded. Sure, a couple of managers and team owners lost their jobs, but Houston’s still in the league. Rose didn’t cheat to win. Therefore, Rose should be allowed to enter the Hall.

And … here we go with the discussion.

If the Hall of Fame was based solely on statistics, Rose would have been inducted years ago. 4,256 hits. Three World Series championships. Seventeen All-Star appearances.

But Hall of Fame induction is much more than that. There’s that nebulous factor of how you interacted with fans. How you conducted your life off the field. Your emotional contribution to the sport and to life. And when Pete Rose bet on baseball, he did the equivalent of a stockbroker using insider information to buy or sell stocks.

The sports fan needs to know that the games he watches are on the level. That any game could be decided on the skills of the players, not on whether the outcome was predetermined – or if someone could influence a player or manager to “throw” a game lest that player’s family ends up with bullets in their heads.

And like it or not, Pete Rose bet on baseball. He gets the same punishment as Eddie Ciccotte and Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the Black Sox. That does not change.

Granted, we now live in a world of daily fantasy sports and legalized gambling on sports. That does not change either. But those are you and me betting on the outcome of games, not Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander betting on them.

The other argument is, “Well, look at some of the sorry lot that ARE in the Hall of Fame. You’ve got spitball pitchers, you’ve got Klansmen, you’ve got womanizers, and they’re enshrined. All Pete Rose did was bet on a few games.”

Okay, I tell you what.

I’ll aruge for the induction of Pete Rose as a Hall of Famer … the moment that Shoeless Joe Jackson and Eddie Ciccotte get enshrined.

But not until then.



  1. The deal Pete made was that he wouldn’t fight a *Lifetime* ban.

    That has ALWAYS meant that Pete will NOT see his own plaque put up in Cooperstown, but his kids/family can.

    Hell, the man is a GUARANTEED HOF’er the vote after he passes away, he’s too great a baseball player to *never* be in the hall.

    But Pete *himself* agreed to the Lifetime ban–he either presumably just thought it’d get overturned at some point, that Giamatti would offer forgiveness, or that he wouldn’t live so long, that it would be *this long* before his plaque gets hung up.

    But lifetime means LIFEtime (not All-time!🤨), and Rose SHOULD not make it in until his lifetime is over.



      • “but then again, there’s that whole Black Sox thing and those guys are still persona non grata”

        This is 100% true!

        But there’s still/always the fact that, thanks to the ban’s deal being cut, rather than them going through the whole process & Rose being permanently banned (like the Black Sox), Rose never *technically* recieved the perma-ban.

        Had he not settled, yeah, it would’ve been forever–but Giamatti *did* offer the lesser-of-two-evils (for Rose) settlement. So Rose DID get to squeak on by.

        Of course, if Giamatti hadn’t died so soon after the deal, and had gone on to live & commish for a good deal longer, we would likely have had a lot more… guidance(?), on what the ban was truly supposed to entail–a full Black Sox-ing, or just a good deal more than a slap upside the head…

        But he died, and then Vincent came in, and after that, Selig WASN’T gonna allow any quarter…

  2. Hey, what the fudge is with that photo!? Don’t be blaming this on the Expos! This dipstick is the property of the Cincinnati Reds and all photos should reflect that.

    Thanks in advance for fixing this egregious error.

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