Cincinnati’s Favorite Son (Pete Rose) Still Awaits Baseball Re-Instatement And A Spot In Cooperstown
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
I started watching baseball when I was really young. Back in the day in the early 1980’s, one of my favorite players was Pete Rose. I mean who couldn’t admire the ALL-Time Hit Kings all out effort in running the bases? As a young baseball player myself, I emulated Rose by sprinting to first base when I drew a walk. I always love why he said he did this: “There is no point in not hustling down to first because that just makes you that much closer to second.” He was monikered with “Charlie Hustle” for his tenacity towards the game. Who could ever forget how he wiped out Ray Fosse in the 1970 ALL-Star Game? Pete Rose was ‘old school’ as they come. He is the ALL-Time leader in Games Played (3562) At Bats (14059), Plate Appearances (15890) and of course his 4256 hits still sits 1st on the Career list. The man also had 10-200 hit seasons (Tied for 1st ALL-Time with Ichiro Suzuki) and has won 3 batting titles. He was on 3 World Series Championship teams including being the key transaction in putting over the 1980 Phillies to their first franchise World Series Title ever. Rose had a .303 Career Avg while hitting .300 in 17 different seasons and making 17 different ALL-Star Teams. He was the Rookie of the Year for the Reds in 1963 and was the NL MVP in 1973, when he hit .338 and collected 230 hits. Rose also holds a 426-388 Career Record as a Manager with the Reds.
Rose was also last Player/Manager in the Major Leagues, when he played and called the shots with the Cincinnati Reds in 1986. All of these incredible achievements should have placed him in Cooperstown by the early 90’s, however he was just as competitive in something else that would later be revealed. On Aug.24/1989, Pete Rose was issued a lifetime ban from the MLB for betting on the game of baseball. It shocked the world and was the biggest scandal in the National Pastime since the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. Pete fought for his innocence with as much reckless abandonment as he displayed with his famous head first slides.
When Bart Giamatti died, any early hopes of Pete Rose being reinstated were on the back-burner. Pete Rose is still adamant today that he only signed off on his lifetime banishment from baseball because Giamatti promised him he would be back in the game of baseball after one calendar year. Whether or not this is truth or fiction will always be left to question. Pete Rose followed up his innocence plea with a book: Pete Rose: My Story. At the age of 14, I read this entire book and was quite convinced that Pete Rose had been set up. First of all, Major League Baseball had broken their promise to Rose when he signed the voluntary ban by:
- Immediately stating That Pete Rose was being banned for betting on baseball, a provision was supposed to have ceased fire on all investigations when it came to gambling and it was not supposed to mentioned when he had signed the agreement.
- Reneging on the promise to Pete Rose that he was neither admitting or denying anything by the gambling allegations by the ban.
- MLB did not allow Pete Rose to apply for reinstatement after the one year was up in Aug of 1990.
Unfortunately for Rose, the new Commissioner was a friend of Giamatti and followed his lead in believing that Rose bet on baseball. In 1991, the writers for the Baseball Hall of Fame decided to bar the Cincinnati native from ballot consideration. There were still many writers that wrote in votes for Rose.
In 1997, Rose had to receive special permission to attend a game in Cincinnati when his son (Pete Rose Jr.) made the club. In 1998, he was named to the top 50- ALL Century team at Fenway Park and was amongst several retired and current MLB Players that were there to honor Ted Williams in a ceremony. In an interview, Jim Gray officially asked Pete Rose if he ever ‘bet’ on baseball. The interview enraged a lot of the players and fans with Gray as Rose was just there to celebrate being nominated for this honor.
From 1990-Recent times, Pete Rose continues to sell his autographs in Las Vegas to earn money. He is a permanent resident there and has split time between owning pubs and bars. He has tried on several occasions to be re-instated by the game of baseball. However, Bud Selig has followed in the stance started by Giamatti and Vincent in ignoring these requests. Even with admitting that he bet on baseball in January of 2004, he has not been given any consideration. ESPN filmed a made for cable movie that portrayed the entire Pete Rose Story as the events transpired in the 1980’s. The film depicted that Rose always bet on his team to win, along with betting on several other teams in the Major Leagues. The film even specified that Rose even had fellow gamblers in the stands of baseball parks that were there just to give him updates via hand signals.
Pete Rose is a compulsive gambler who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada to feed his addiction and he has not shown much in the way in trying to quit. For this reason alone, I agree with his permanent ban from the game. I still think that it is time to honor his playing career and induct him into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Major League Baseball could also put ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson into the Hall at the same time. Think what of him what you want, but as a player, no one can deny that he is one of the best and most durable baseball players of ALL-Time. Keep in mind, this guy played over 500 games in 4 different fielding positions in the National League. Remember that he led the National League in base hits at the age of 40 in 1981 while hitting .325.
It is really sad that he has been outcast forever by the game of baseball. He is not eligible for the Hall of Fame. His number is not retired and hanging from the rafters of The Great American Ball Park. Other than the park being on ‘Pete Rose Way,’ it is tough to find any semblance of the man’s career at the park. There are certain rituals and nuances the Cincinnati faithful do inside the park to honor #14, but unless you know these, it would be hard to understand the man’s folklore to the original baseball franchise. If you are looking to find his place in Reds history you must visit the Cincinnati Reds Baseball Hall of Fame across the street from the park. Honestly, this Hall of Fame is dominated by Rose. The highlight is the 4256 baseballs encased in glass-cascading up the 5 floors of stairs. It gives you a great measure of how many hits this former great had in his day. It is worth the price of admission alone. The “Big Red Machine” is also one of the greatest names ever for a team.
All of his ex-teammates have tried to petition for Rose’s cause. Amongst the biggest supporters in his corner are Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Joe Morgan. I believe it will be decades before anything happens with Pete Rose. If MLB is hard on him, just wait until they have a chance to show how much they don’t respect the accomplishments of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens and every other Ex-MLB player with accusations of cheating. While I admire Major League Baseball for their harsh punishment towards cheating and gambling, the Baseball Hall Of Fame is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Keep the lifetime ban, let #14 in the BBHOF!
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Posted on October 18, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged barry bonds, bart giamatti, Big Red Machine, book 'my prison without bars', bryce harper, bud selig, chicago black sox, Chuck Booth. fastest 30 ballgames, cincinnati reds, Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, fay vincent, fenway park, kane, mark mcqwire, Mike Trout, pete rose, philadelphia phillies, rafael palmeiro, roger clemens, sammy sosa, shoeless joe jackson, the great american ballpark, twitter @chuckbooth3024, Wrestle Mania, wwe, wwe wrestler Kane, wwf. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.