Pete Rose is back in the news. Again.
Today, Rose petitioned MLB for reinstatement citing a 'disproportionate' penalty he received for betting on baseball compared to no penalties imposed against Houston Astros players involved in the recent sign-stealing scandal.
I'll be honest, Pete is my favorite all-time player. But the Rose topics, storylines and debates became tiresome a long, long time ago. It's hard not to be repulsed by the allegations that have come out about Rose in recent years.
But for purposes of this exercise let's agree on the following and move on.
-Rose bet on baseball and knew the penalty for such an act was a lifetime ban.
-Rose is a very flawed figure. Some would even call him a disgusting figure.
-Rose is one of the game's greatest players all-time.
-Rose lied about his gambling for years and has done little to help himself since 1989.
Summation: Great player. Bad person.
But I have one long standing question that remains:
Why not just give the baseball writers back the opportunity to judge Rose on the Hall of Fame?
The HOF had trusted the writers to evaluate and vote on players beginning with the first Hall of Fame class of 1936.
But the HOF changed the voting bylaws in February of 1991, the year before Rose would have first been eligible for the Hall of Fame. The new rule stated any player permanently banned from the game would not be eligible for consideration by the voters.
It was a pre-emptive removal of Rose's name from the ballot. The rule was dubbed 'the Pete Rose rule." The Hall of Fame was afraid Rose would in fact be voted into Cooperstown. The establishment feared embarrassed and backlash from Hall of Famers that indicated they'd protest by never attending ceremonies again.
Prior to his banishment, there was a thought that Rose was on his way to becoming the first ever unanimous selection into the hall.
No way Rose earns 100% of the vote now. Does he get the required 75%? I'm inclined to say no. But I'd sure like to find out.
Rose will be 79 years old in April. He's not going to manage or work again for a MLB team. MLB can continue to see to that. Fine by me.
But Rose's last game as a player was August 17, 1986. That was over 33 years and 12,285 days ago.
Rose has not spent one year, one day on the Hall of Fame ballot. Put him on the ballot. Let the writers decide.
If Rose gains election, great. If Rose fails to be elected, fine by me. But at least we'd all get closure. Finally.
He was a hell of a player. He's a tragically flawed figure. Does he deserve the opportunity to be judge by the writers, like every other player in history? Yes.
The rest is minutia.
Anyone else feel like finding out?
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