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Pete Rose Denied Hall of Fame Ballot in Final Year of Eligibility

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Pete Rose, MLB’s all-time career hit leader, has no chance of being voted into the Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility because commissioner Bud Selig, taking a seriously passive-aggressive route, will not rule on Rose’s application for reinstatement before the 2006 candidates are announced Nov. 29, according to Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer. “The matter remains on the commissioner’s desk. He has given no indication that he’s prepared to issue a formal decision,” DuPuy said.

Last year Rose finally admitted he was a big-time gambler who started betting regularly on baseball in 1987 but never against his own team the Reds, according to his book Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars. “Yes, sir, I did bet on baseball,” Rose told commissioner Bud Selig during a meeting in November 2002 about Rose’s lifetime ban.

“How often?” Selig asked.

“Four or five times a week,” Rose replied. “But I never bet against my own team, and I never made any bets from the clubhouse.”

“Why?” Selig asked.

“I didn’t think I’d get caught.”

But, in typical Rose fashion, he also alibied and deflected. Rose wrote that if he “had been an alcoholic or a drug addict, baseball would have suspended me for six weeks and paid for my rehabilitation.”

“I should have had the opportunity to get help, but baseball had no fancy rehab for gamblers like they do for drug addicts,” Rose wrote. “If I had admitted my guilt, it would have been the same as putting my head on the chopping block – lifetime ban. Death penalty. I spent my entire life on the baseball fields of America, and I was not going to give up my profession without first seeing some hard evidence. … Right or wrong, the punishment didn’t fit the crime – so I denied the crime.”

My solution to the impasse is to separate out Rose’s playing career from his disgraced managerial career and grant him eligibility as a player, as which, of course, he deserves enshrinement even though I can’t stand him. It’s hard to argue with 4,256 hits, 2,200 runs, 17 All-Star appearances, and the 1973 NL MVP award.

At his Cooperstown enshrinement ceremony, he could be lauded with great fanfare and chorus upon chorus of huzzahs as a player. Then, in a kind of Chinatown sister/daughter, yin/yang, Janus-type duality, he could don his manager’s uniform and the living members of the Hall of Fame could line up and take turns kicking him in the balls for undermining the fundamental integrity and fabric of The Game.

Player – “Yayyyy!!”

Manager – (kick) “Uuhh!”

Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in August 1989 following an investigation into his gambling – the Hall’s board of directors ruled in 2001 that anyone on the permanently ineligible list couldn’t appear on the BBWAA ballot.
“Charlie Hustle” applied for reinstatement in September 1997 and met with Selig in November 2002, but the admissions in his book and the aggrieved tone he took in making them seemed to sour what sympathy he had been previously able to muster.

Players are eligible for the BBWAA vote from between five and twenty years after they retire – Rose last lumbered around the bases in 1986.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    I do think if they reinstate Rose, they have to reconsider Joe Jackson.

    The drop of quality from Bart Giamatti to Bud Selig is a far sadder thing to me to contemplate than Charlie Hustler having to pay to visit the Hall like the rest of us.

  • http://www.magicjunk.com/radio Mark Sahm

    The Hall of Fame is just an overrated old men’s club, so Rose (and his patrons) should stop sweating his getting inducted. It’s not like his name is scratched from all of the All-Time Record lists. It will always be there and, to me, that’s his legacy… not the breaking of silly by-laws of baseball bureaucracy.

    I liked the player/manager scenario though, EO.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    His book deal signed his own fate.

  • Eric Olsen

    CL, I agree but also think Selig has done a better job than anyone thought he would. He caught wind of the seriousness of the steroids situation sooner than I thought he would.

    Thanks MS, the baseball Hall of Fame is still THE Hall of Fame, though. It has more gravitas than any other, I think, even those outside of sport; so a player with his credentials being so purposefully shunned does have meaning I believe.

    Suss, I think it was his tone and attitude in the book as much or more than the details, which most everyone knew anyway, that really turned people off. Supposedly, the Veterans Committee, wich is mostly HOF members, is even less likely to vote him in than the writers

  • FormerBaseballFan

    If Rose is not allowed to go into the Hall of Fame, whatever will become of the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Carlos Palmeiro?

    It’s this very kind of double standard that has driven me away from the game…

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