Former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose poses while taping a segment for Miami Television News on the campus of Miami University, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Oxford, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Associated Press

Pete Rose wrote a letter to the Hall of Fame, pleading to be placed on the ballot


Tim Brown of Yahoo has obtained a letter written by Pete Rose — well, written by his attorney — to the Baseball Hall of Fame, pleading to be placed on the ballot so he could be considered for induction by the BBWAA.

The upshot of the argument is that when Rose accepted his permanent ban from baseball, it did not include a ban from Hall of Fame consideration. Which, yes, is true. But it’s also true that soon after the ban, the Hall of Fame — which is a private institution, not owned by Major League Baseball — decided to change its rules and only allow those who are not banned by baseball to be on its ballot. That rule, 3(e), was enacted in February 1991.

Which is itself a tad disingenuous, as it’s long been clear that the Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball pretty much see the world the same way. The Commissioner and his close confidants are on the board of the Hall for cryin’ out loud. I have no doubt whatsoever that, if Major League Baseball wanted something of the Hall of Fame, it could get it and that if the Hall of Fame did something Major League Baseball did not like, MLB would make its displeasure known to the Hall and the matter would be remedied.

Which is to say that, yes, Rose probably has a good point or two in all of this and it would be interesting to know how the Hall came to adopt its “no banned players can be considered” rule and why and whether it had anything to do with MLB suggesting that the Hall do via its rules what MLB might not have gotten Rose to agree to in its own right.

But just because something is “interesting” does not make it meaningful. The Hall is a private business that can do what it wants. Major League Baseball is a private business that can do what it wants. There is no legal right to be eligible for the Hall of Fame and, even if Rose had some sort of legal theory — Fraud, maybe? Some sort of interference with economic opportunity claim? — it was one that should’ve been brought decades ago. And no, I don’t think he’d have a legal leg to stand on even if he had.

All that being said, I think Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. I think that his playing career makes him more than worthy and his transgressions, while serious enough to keep him out of the game for life, should not stop a museum and the baseball establishment from honoring what he did between 50 and 30 years ago.

His letter won’t work, though. Because the same folks who decided he was not worthy of reinstatement last year have a lot of influence on the folks who determine who gets placed on a Hall of Fame balance. In asking for what he’s asking, Rose is asking for one of those parties to go against the other. And that has never, ever happened.

Ichiro was happy to see Pete Rose get defensive about his hits record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins warms-up during batting practice before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.

There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:

I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.

There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.

The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.

Pete Rose sues former baseball investigator over statutory rape claims

Associated Press

Former baseball star Pete Rose on Wednesday sued the lawyer whose investigative report got him kicked out of baseball for gambling, alleging the lawyer defamed him last year by saying on the radio that Rose raped young teen girls during spring training.

Rose said in the federal lawsuit that John M. Dowd damaged his reputation and endorsement deals during a July 2015 interview on WCHE-AM in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Dowd investigated Rose for Major League Baseball in 1989, leading the league’s all-time hits leader to be declared ineligible for the Hall of Fame.

The lawsuit states Dowd said during the radio appearance that Rose associate Michael Bertolini told investigators he “ran young girls” to Rose during spring training, which Dowd called “statutory rape every time.” Bertolini’s lawyers issued a categorical denial last summer.

“Rose never did any such thing and until the Dowd accusations, no one had ever claimed he did,” Rose’s lawyers wrote in the complaint. “What Dowd attributes to Bertolini is false: Bertolini states he never told Dowd any such thing.”

A man answering a phone listed for Dowd in Massachusetts did not identify himself, would not take a message and abruptly hung up on a reporter seeking comment.

A portion of Dowd’s 1989 report for Major League Baseball was headed, “Rose-Bertolini Betting.”

Rose, who lives in Las Vegas, had applied for reinstatement to the game last year and was about to appear at an All-Star Game in Cincinnati, where he coached and played, when Dowd said on Jim Rome’s radio show on June 23, 2015, that Rose “had Bertolini running young women down in Florida for his satisfaction,” the lawsuit said.

On July 13, Dowd was asked on WCHE-AM whether he found Rose to be a likable person.

“Michael Bertolini, you know, told us that he not only ran bets but he ran young girls for him down at spring training, ages 12 to 14,” Dowd responded last year. “Isn’t that lovely. So that’s statutory rape every time you do that.”

Dowd subsequently told that he did not want to discuss the Bertolini allegation any longer, saying it had been blown out of proportion.