Originally Posted by REDREAD
You know what the funniest thing is? Being banned from baseball has given Pete millions of dollars worth of publicity (and memorabilia sales). Think about some of the other record breakers.. Don't even go back to the 70's.. Think about guys like Schmidt, Yount,Molitor, Ripken, Gary Carter, Gwynn. Pete could get more for his autograph than these guys simply because of his scandals. I mean, I doubt Bench could get $300 for signing a ball today, no matter what he wrote on it.
Bill James once wrote that the controversy over whether or not Enos Slaughter should go into the HOF was the only thing keeping the memory of Slaughter alive, and James was right. Once Slaughter (who also ran to firstbase when he was walked) was inducted into the Hall of Fame, discussion about his career largely ceased. Mind you, I'm sure Slaughter preferred the honor of HOF induction to all the debates about whether or not he should be inducted.
Similarly, Tris Speaker was probably a better player than Shoeless Joe Jackson, but the number of casual fans who have heard of Shoeless Joe far exceeds those who know about the Grey Eagle, a direct contemporary. Speaker wasn't the guy who intially appeared in Ray Kinsella's cornfield. The controversy of whether or not Jackson threw the 1919 World Series and whether or not he should be in the Hall of Fame has kept his memory alive.
Decades from now, when the greatness of Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan is a dim memory for most, Rose will probably be the best remembered member of the Big Red Machine.