Mike Downey at CNN writes a column about how Pete Rose has served enough time and should be reinstated. It’s no different than any of the other gabillion Pete Rose columns so it’s not of any special interest in and of itself. Outside of the fact, maybe, that Downey is a Hall of Fame voter and says that he would like the chance to vote for Rose for rose rather than have him be off the ballot.
While the Rose topic has been talked to death generally, I do think that people have overlooked his actual Hall of Fame chances should he be reinstated. Specifically, I question whether the same voters who have taken moral stands against the PED guys actually would vote for Rose whether he’s eligible or not.
After all, these guys are freely admitting that they’re imposing a higher standard than MLB imposes. I mean, Barry Bonds and all of those guys are 100% eligible for the Hall and they’re not sniffing induction. Who’s to say that Rose will get any different treatment? Some have, in the past, drawn distinctions between Rose and the PED guys. And have drawn distinctions between Pete Rose the player and Pete Rose the manager. As such, I think his vote totals would be healthier than that of say Bonds and Clemens. But I can’t see how a full 75% of the people who have decided that lying and breaking rules and affecting the outcome of games in some way that is unquantifiable is a disqualifying factor for some players wouldn’t be one for Rose.
Personally I’d vote for Rose for the Hall if he were eligible because he was clearly an elite player who deserves induction. But that standard isn’t the one that Hall of Fame voters have applied over the years. As such, I think he’d have a tough sled.
Pete Rose has historically slammed PED users. Saying stuff like this back in 2010:
Now, to answer your question about steroids, wouldn’t you like to ask Roger Maris how he feels about steroids? Or Babe Ruth how he feels about steroids? Or Hank Aaron, you could probably ask how he feels about steroids. Because those guys all lost records because of people who supposedly took steroids. So that’s a different deal right there. But I didn’t alter any statistics of baseball.
I may be bad, but not as bad as them, he has argued. I think that may be a tactical thing on his part — in the past he has also acknowledged that guys like Barry Bonds were great players regardless — and that he’d say just about anything to get himself reinstated or considered for the Hall of Fame. More evidence to that effect comes today, as he has now begun advocating for PED users in the Hall. Here he is on WFAN this morning:
Pete Rose wants Major League Baseball to give him a second chance. That’s no big secret.And he thinks he’d have a better shot at reinstatement if Hall of Fame voters can find it in themselves to induct a tainted slugger or two.
“I wish that would happen,” Rose said Monday on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show. “If something like that would ever happen, it would enhance my opportunities.”
Any weapon at hand, I guess.
For what it’s worth I want the PED guys AND Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. History is history and baseball is baseball. Let’s leave the ethics discussions for the ethicists and lets put the truly historic players in the Hall of Fame.
Personally, I would love to see a list of Pete Rose’s “firm beliefs.” I imagine they begin with “never count your money when you’re sitting at the table, there’ll be time of enough for counting when the dealing’s done” and sort of devolve from there, but a man does have to have a code. Good on ya, Hit King.
The quote from the headline comes courtesy of this Tyler Kepner article about Rose in the New York Times. A lot of it is the pretty standard Pete Rose rebop we’ve come to know and love: he made mistakes, he’s a good boy now, if he got one more chance he’d make the most of it and help to teach young players about the game, etc.
Like I said a few weeks ago, it would not shock me if Bud Selig gave Rose a pardon as he walked out the door in January. But if he does so, it won’t be because of anything Rose himself has had to say. It’ll be all about Selig giving a gift to fans, most of whom still hold Rose in high esteem. Maybe even higher esteem because of his banishment than they would have had for him if he had managed into the 1990s or longer.
Pete Rose is doing that publicity stunt managerial gig tonight, and since it’s about the publicity he’s doing interviews. And, since he’s doing interviews, he’s waxing optimistic about his chances to get back in the game:
Really, where I belong is back in baseball. I still believe it can happen.”
Yes, he’s talking within seven months, before Commissioner Bud Selig leaves office Jan. 24, 2015.
“To be honest with you,” Rose says, “I really haven’t given up on Bud giving me a second chance.”
I used to laugh at this sort of thing, as baseball has never shown any intention of reinstating Rose. But part of me is starting to wonder if Selig won’t issue a pardon as he leaves office. For a couple of reasons. First, to keep the Rose issue from being one that bothers his successor every couple of years. Second, and more importantly, for legacy reasons.
I never would’ve thought that Selig would have pursued the Biogenesis case in the aggressive and arguably extra-legal manner in which he did. But Selig was a motivated man. Motivated to make A-Rod, and not himself, the face of steroids in baseball. That’s a man who is conscious of his legacy. Rose is obviously a different case — he was his predecessors’ issue — but he is still an immensely popular figure among fans. Imagine what the stories would look like if Rose were reinstated as Selig leaves baseball. He enters amid labor turmoil, fan indifference and drug abuse. He leaves with baseball riding high, the druggies cast out and as the man who brought Pete Rose back. And hell, maybe Shoeless Joe. It’s feel-good stuff for people who either don’t know or don’t care about the history of gambling in baseball. It’s a huge boon to the Hall of Fame too.
Is it likely? I don’t know. I’m assuming Major League Baseball would say it’s preposterous and that Rose is delusional. But I can’t shake the idea that someone close to Selig is at least suggesting how the politics of reinstating Rose and/or Jackson might look as a career-capper. While some of us would be turned off by it, I bet way more people would eat it up.