Home / Pete Rose: Hopelessly Flawed, But A Hall of Fame Player

Pete Rose: Hopelessly Flawed, But A Hall of Fame Player

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Let’s be clear here: It’s not the Hall of Integrity. It’s the Hall of Fame. Fame comes in all sorts of ways and not all famous people who have been given awards are “legit,” so to speak. There are way too many people in history who were plain jerks or failures as human beings that were brilliant at what they did. Fame is just that: fame. To attach any moral codes to it is hypocritical.

So let’s move on about Pete Rose.

If it were up to me, character would be among the primary considerations when bestowing an award on someone. But this would be imply we live in a perfect world inhabited by perfect beings.

So when it comes to the Baseball Hall of Fame (or any Hall for that matter) and Rose, what I’m saying is that we need to separate the character from the accomplishment. In the event that both happen to mesh, that only reflects well on the person and in some cosmic way humanity will reward that person.

Pete Rose is one of the most perplexing athletes of the 20th century. Subjectively, without a doubt, he is among the greatest, most intense players in the history of baseball. He was the essence of the Cincinnati Reds that won back-to-back championships in the 1970s. Objectively, his stats speak for themselves.

As a human being, let’s just say we won’t be pointing to him in a picture one day and saying to our kids, “See son, this is who I want you to model yourself under.”

At the heart of the story is a person with a gambling addiction who bet on games as a manager. Not as a player, but as a manager – as in after his career as a player was over. Not only that, he bet on his own team. Worse, he lied about it for nearly two decades. Most people in denial tend to do that.

Now the truth comes out of nowhere and it’s not pretty at all. It simply reveals that Rose is a flawed human with utter lack of judgment and decency. He could have averted all this had he come clean from the start. Who knows? Maybe he would have been inducted into the Hall by now. Mind you, baseball writers are not exactly a forgiving or sometimes enlightened bunch.

In Pete Rose we see where excellence meets vice. Where vice overcame virtue. It’s easy to look at Rose and think that his actions were selfish and arrogant. Of course they were. But he has a disease of a gambling variation. His explanation and reasoning that he bet on his team every single time to win because he believed in them rings hollow.

Still, we shouldn’t be negative. It may have taken him almost two decades but it does suggest he realizes he made a mistake.

Did anyone catch Katie Couric on CBS Evening News asking that reporter if his chances of getting into the hall are “kaput”? All that money and she could not have come up with a better word?

When it comes to Pete Rose the baseball player, we need to disassociate him from Pete Rose the human being when considering the Hall. I know that many other sports’ Halls of Fame consider character, but let’s be frank: it’s not foolproof. It’s such a dicey thing. Keeping him out is lousy, considering who is in there already, some cheats, gamblers, and racists alike. The Baseball Hall of Fame is not a place where we look for Renaissance Men.

In contemplating Rose’s Hall of Fame status, we should judge him based on his accomplishments on the field and nowhere else. It’s black and white. Going beyond this to prevent him from getting in is wrong. Questioning and even chastising him for his poor deeds is justified and should be discussed. But isn’t that separate issue altogether?

There is, perhaps, an opportunity in all this. We can learn from Pete Rose. Astute parents can teach their kids about his mistakes. There are many life lessons in his story. It’s the only way to help combat this addiction – or any other addiction for that matter.

Aside from all this, Pete Rose is simply a baseball player who earned his place in the pantheon of great players.

Powered by

About Alessandro Nicolo

  • RJ

    My personal conspiracy theory:

    Major League Baseball will continue to give Pete Rose just enough reason to believe that he could eventually be inducted into the HoF that he keeps lobbying for it. For the rest of his natural life. But they’ll never let him in … until the year of his death! And then, after he is dead and buried, safely in the ground, the HoF Committee will vote unanimously in favor of him.

    They know he belongs there. We all do! They just don’t want him to be around to actually enjoy it. And that just makes me sick…

  • It’s a more plausible theory than 9/11 being an inside job.

  • He doesn’t deserve to enjoy it. That’s what you get for ruining the integrity of the game by gambling on it, which he did on the field as a manager.

  • That’s certainly a valid perspective. I don’t know if he ruined the integrity. Integrity is a rather elusive sucker in modern sports. Was it as bad as the Black Sox? Probably not.. Not even sure if they are comparable.

  • Tim

    “At the heart of the story is a person with a gambling addiction who bet on games as a manager. Not as a player, but as a manager – as in after his career as a player was over.”

    Didn’t the Dowd Report say that Rose bet on baseball during the two years while he was a player/manager? Thus, he bet on baseball as a player, too, no just as a manager.

    Rose should be banned.

  • Good point, Tim. I’m not sure. Anyone?

  • MCH

    “They know he belongs there. We all do! They just don’t want him to be around to actually enjoy it. And that just makes me sick…”
    – RJ Elliott

    But it didn’t bother you to make fun of the size of Elizabeth Edwards’ butt?

  • nate

    If Bonds and Clemens get in so should rose

  • greg

    There is one rule in baseball that keeps you out.. he broke it. Too bad. He doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.. this isn’t a controversy. It’s black and white.. It’s his own fault, he can deal with it..

  • Jack

    His on the field accolades speak volumes about why he should be in the hall. If Pete Rose should be banned, Ty Cobb should be removed!

  • David

    Pete Rose committed his so-called offenses outside his duties as a player. He is no more dirty or unworthy for Hall-Of-Fame induction than 90% of other former players, all whom have various skeletons in their closets. Pete Rose is the all-time hits leader in MLB, and for my money the best lead-off hitter ever (sorry Ricky), and his tenacity and work-ethic propelled the Reds to many league championships and World Series. If Pete Rose should be excluded from the Hall Of Fame then no one is deserving.

  • Tom Sheelor

    Pete Rose accomplished what no MLB player did in the entire history of the game. The Hall of Fame is about records, not personalities. How can you omit the player that has more hits than any other player, ever? It only makes the “other records” a total lie. Rose did not break the rules when he was a player – it’s as simple as that!

  • Ethan

    I played baseball for most of my life, I didn’t live in the Rose era of baseball but he is an idol for what he did on the field for me as a kid teen and now adult. I agree that he was wrong in what he did, do I believe he should be punished… yes I do, but why give him a life sentence. In football a hit that could kill someone just gets a fine of several thousand and then it is over until it happens again. He did not harm anyone except for himself, he has paid his dues to society with several decades of waiting…his punishment in my opinion has been served. I believe that a man who earns a prize deserves the prize that he willed his life for. America is suppose to be based off of christian beliefs. God gives second chances why not us then? Well God bless the unforgivable.