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Video: Anthony Rizzo, David Ross reenact the famous Pete Rose/Bob Boone play

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In the 1980 World Series between the Royals and Phillies, Phillies first baseman Pete Rose and Bob Boone famously teamed up to catch a foul ball in the top of the ninth inning. Closer Tug McGraw found himself in a jam, having loaded the bases with one out on a walk followed by two singles. Frank White hit a pop-up near the first base dugout. The ball popped in and out of catcher Boone’s glove, but first baseman Rose alertly grabbed the ball with his glove before it hit the ground for the second out of the inning. From there, McGraw would memorably strike out Willie Wilson to clinch the World Series for the Phillies.

Coincidentally, a similar play happened in Game 5 of the World Series between the Indians and Cubs on Sunday night. Carlos Santana was batting with the bases empty and one out in the top of the second inning against Cubs starter Jon Lester. He fouled off a 93 MPH fastball to the right side, sending catcher David Ross and first baseman Anthony Rizzo towards each other near the first base dugout. The wind took the ball back towards the field. Ross leaned and attempted to make the catch, but like Boone, the ball popped out of his mitt. Thankfully, Rizzo was there to make the save to secure the out.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your disposition), there was no astroturf on which Rizzo could’ve playfully bounced the ball after making the catch.

The Cubs were able to escape Game 5 with a 3-2 victory over the Indians to send the World Series back to Cleveland.

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

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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

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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.