The Phillies announced on Monday that the organization will induct Pete Rose into its Wall of Fame, found in Ashburn Alley at Citizens Bank Park. The ceremony will be held on August 12.
The Phillies have typically inducted one past member of the organization into the Wall of Fame every year. Jim Thome was last year’s inductee. Inductees have typically been former players, but managers (Gavvy Cravath, Dallas Green, Charlie Manuel), coaches (John Vukovich), and broadcasters (Harry Kalas) have also been included.
Rose, now 75, played five seasons with the Phillies between 1979-83. He was considered instrumental in the team winning its first ever championship in 1980 against the Royals, ending a 98-year drought. He also helped the Phillies return to the World Series in 1983, where they lost to the Orioles. In his five seasons in Philadelphia, Rose hit .291/.365/.361.
Rose, of course, is more well-known as a member of the Reds, with which he spent his first 16 seasons. He’s also well-known as baseball’s all-time hits leader at 4,256, but he is not in the Hall of Fame as he was ruled permanently ineligible in 1989 from having bet on baseball.
As a Phillies fan — admittedly one born after Rose’s career ended — I find his induction to be odd. He played less than one-fifth of his career with the team and, while he was considered to be one of the players most responsible for helping the Phillies win it all for the first time, the Phillies have since won another World Series, reducing the need to fetishize the first. Besides, the 1980 team has been well-recognized as is: Paul Owens (1988), Steve Carlton (1989), Mike Schmidt (1990), Larry Bowa (1991), Greg Luzinski (1988), Tug McGraw (1999), Garry Maddox (2001), Bob Boone (2005), Dallas Green (2006), and John Vukovich (2007) have all been honored on the Wall of Fame. Comparatively, only a handful of members of the well-loved 1993 Phillies team — which lost the World Series in heartbreaking fashion to the Blue Jays — have been honored: Darren Daulton (2010), John Kruk (2011), and Curt Schilling (2013).
With Jimmy Rollins on his way out of baseball, this would have been the perfect time for recognizing the impact he had on the organization since making his major league debut in 2000. He won the 2007 NL MVP Award, helped the Phillies win it all in 2008, and helped them nearly win it again the next year. Only two members of the 2008 team have been recognized thus far: Charlie Manuel (2014) and Pat Burrell (2015) — though that’s mostly because many members of that team are still active. Brad Lidge, who went 48-for-48 in save opportunities in 2008 (including the regular season and playoffs), is also a great candidate for the Wall of Fame.
Ultimately, it’s a business decision and the Phillies likely felt that the ignominious Rose would draw more eyeballs than anybody else that they could feasibly honor this summer. And they’re probably not wrong. Those who idolized Rose during his playing days are in the age bracket that consumes the most baseball.