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Thread: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

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    Member Pacman Fever's Avatar
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    Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    July 27, 2013 at 11:48am EDT

    There’s no great way to get to Cooperstown from New York City. But they’re all kind of great. No matter which series of winding state roads you take to get from the Thruway to the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, you’re sure to pass expanses of green Catskills, mountain lakes, quaint little towns, and cornfields. Bob Ross stuff.

    Pete Rose loves baseball, so Pete Rose loves Cooperstown. And Cooperstown — the Hall of Fame notably excepted — seems to love Pete Rose back. I chatted with Rose for over an hour on Thursday as he signed autographs at Safe at Home Collectibles, about 100 yards from the Hall. Nearly every fan that approached Rose came prepared with an anecdote from Rose’s career or a remark about the way he played. And Rose earnestly matched them all, recalling specifics from long-ago games and dolling out advice.

    “My son’s a switch-hitter, just like you,” says one man, nodding toward a nervous kid wearing a baseball cap pulled low over his face.

    Rose looks at the boy, who is no older than nine.

    “You know the tough thing about switch hitting?” the all-time Major League hits leader says. “Don’t practice the new way so much that you get out of the original way. There’s only one switch-hitter in the history of baseball that I know of that was a natural left-hand hitter, and his name was J.T. Snow…”

    “Thank you, Mr. Rose,” the man says. “I hope you make the Hall of Fame.”

    “You’re going to bat left-handed two-thirds of the time,” Rose calls after the kid.

    I love baseball, too. And I left for Cooperstown convinced that a manager gambling on baseball, as Rose did while piloting the Cincinnati Reds in the late 1980s, jeopardizes the game’s integrity in a far more sinister way than any of the sport’s recent and oft-lamented performance-enhancing drug scandals.

    Players taking steroids are, for better or worse, still doing everything they can to win ballgames. Players or coaches gambling on baseball threaten the fundamental nature of the contest, which assumes that both teams are working to succeed.

    Rose knows so much about the game. He shares historical tidbits and contemporary observations with equal ease, and across the course of our conversation he weighs in on everything from batting grips to Robinson Cano’s pending free agency to MLB team facial-hair policies of the 1970s. He acknowledges that what he did was wrong, and he knows he broke the rules. But he doesn’t see a parallel between his ban and the bans given to eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox.

    “That’s not like my case!” he says. “I didn’t bet against my own team. I didn’t throw any games. Those guys threw World Series games, you know that? That’s a big difference between that and betting on your own team every night. That’s like a guy in the Kentucky Derby riding the No. 3 horse betting on No. 2!”

    But how could a manager stop himself from managing differently on the nights he’s betting?

    “That’s why I bet every night,” he says. “I managed one way every night, to W-I-N.”

    No one but Rose can say if that’s true. But given everything we know about Pete Rose, it sure sounds believable. Rose is Charlie Hustle, after all, as legendary for his head-first effort as he is for his record. He is the guy who fractured catcher Ray Fosse’s shoulder in a home-plate collision to win the All-Star Game, way before the All-Star Game even pretended to count.

    To an outsider, it’s easy to imagine the various ways someone betting on baseball games he’s involved in could compromise them. But maybe to a guy like Rose it’s more difficult to comprehend. Maybe the almost unimaginable drive and competitiveness required to play 22 Major League seasons, those qualities which helped Rose make 17 All-Star teams and rack up 4,256 hits, prevent him from even conceiving of working toward any end but a win.

    “I just needed something extra,” Rose says. “That was my mistake. Managing wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough incentive for me.”

    A father and son approach. The son takes a seat next to Rose for a photograph, and the father boasts, “His uncle’s first cousin is Mike Piazza.”

    “Mike Piazza,” Rose repeats. “He should be being honored here this Sunday. That’s my opinion. He’s the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history, no question about it. Best all-around catcher is Johnny Bench.”

    Neither Piazza nor any other living player will be honored in Cooperstown on Sunday. Piazza, like every great player of the late 1990s and early 2000s, fell short of the necessary votes this year because he hit lots of home runs and played his best baseball during the sport’s so-called steroids era.

    Piazza never failed a test and was not listed in the Mitchell Report. In his 2013 autobiography, he denied taking performance-enhancers beyond the over-the-counter Androstenedione and amphetamines – baseball’s once-ubiquitous “greenies,” which Rose dismisses as “diet pills” that provide only “false confidence.”

    “This whole community suffers when these guys deserving to make the Hall of Fame don’t make the Hall of Fame,” Rose says of Cooperstown. “It’s bad for the whole damn village.”

    If that’s true, it’s hard to tell Thursday. Youth baseball tournaments in the area, coinciding with Induction Weekend, have the shops and restaurants in the area bustling with young families. It’s almost impossible to find street parking anywhere nearby.

    I happen to believe steadfastly that great baseball players should make the Hall of Fame regardless of off-field indiscretions, and that the Hall should eliminate the character clause from its annual ballot. It seems pointless, or at least ill-considered, to punish great players who used steroids when the Hall already holds plenty of guys that scuffed balls and corked bats and distributed greenies.

    “It’s not all altar boys in there,” says Rose.

    Rose knows he made a mistake, and wants a second chance. He believes that if he’s reinstated, he can help baseball. He says he would love to visit minor league camps during spring training to tell young players his story and explain how they can learn from it.

    But what if Rose is already helping baseball by sitting there in the memorabilia shop shaking hands and signing cards a block away — but indelibly removed — from the Hall of Fame? Rose has come to Cooperstown for the induction every year since 1994. He stays in an apartment above the store, shows up 15 minutes early for his scheduled autograph sessions and stays a half-hour late. He accommodates media requests and calls into radio shows around the country to discuss baseball’s latest controversy in light of his own.

    He wants to win, again, but in his efforts to do so, he serves as a walking, talking reminder to all he encounters of what happens to baseball insiders who bet on baseball.

    Still, if I’m to maintain that steroids users deserve spots in the Hall of Fame on the strength of their on-field accomplishments, it’s silly to argue that Rose does not. All 4,256 of his hits still count in the box scores, after all. And it feels a bit coldhearted to say that a man so dedicated to baseball – even one that committed competitive sports’ cardinal sin – does not deserve the game’s forgiveness after some 20 years spent toiling in purgatory, here in baseball heaven.

    Cooperstown is a beautiful place and it exists in service to baseball — one of our most beautiful pastimes. Pete Rose did something ugly, as did Barry Bonds, as did legions of ballplayers throughout the game’s history.

    It’s impossible to know whether the punishments these players have received at the hands of baseball, the media, and even the fans are just. Without knowing what these players think – without being them – who is to know if they feel genuine remorse, or if they even should? And no matter how frequently or vigorously we claim otherwise, we just can’t really say for certain whether rigidity or leniency is better for the game or the children or the Hall of Fame itself.

    “What athletes do today, even me, we make these commissioners jobs hard,” Rose says. “Bud Selig doesn’t want to go through all this (stuff) right now. It drives him crazy, probably.

    “We’ve just got to find away to get athletes – including myself – to be more responsible.”

    http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/07/pete...gambling-peds/
    Hitler finds out the Royals signed Jonathan Broxton: http://www.yourepeat.com/watch/?v=hB...=youtube_gdata

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Nice article, I just wish he hadn't lied to all his fans saying he didn't do it. That sort of makes him the Ryan Braun of his day.
    Reds fan since 1968 win or lose.

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Personally, I think it's ridiculous that players like Rose and Bonds are kept out of the HOF. It's a bunch of self-important writers, many of whom haven't even covered baseball in any meaningful way for years, who arrogantly and self-righteously appoint themselves as the "guardians" of baseball. Please. Pete Rose should be in, and as much as I don't care for Bonds, his Ruthian-type numbers dwarfed his contemporaries and he also belongs.

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by NorCal Reds Fan View Post
    Personally, I think it's ridiculous that players like Rose and Bonds are kept out of the HOF. It's a bunch of self-important writers, many of whom haven't even covered baseball in any meaningful way for years, who arrogantly and self-righteously appoint themselves as the "guardians" of baseball. Please. Pete Rose should be in, and as much as I don't care for Bonds, his Ruthian-type numbers dwarfed his contemporaries and he also belongs.
    The Hall of Fame is about more than stats. It is also about integrity, honor, and professionalism. Bonds and Rose fail, miserably, on all accounts. Rose became a clown when he started chasing the dollar bill anywhere it would lead him and became an embarrassment for baseball, the city of Cincinnati, his family, and himself. The fact that people still defend this joke is beyond me. Should he be honored in the same hall as Ruth, Aaron, Bench, Morgan, etc. No way, IMO. There are items which lament Rose's accomplishments. That is enough. Why slime a building of honor by allowing Rose and Bonds in? Knowing Rose, he will probably demand cash (no checks) to show up anyway.

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by armybrat45103 View Post
    The Hall of Fame is about more than stats. It is also about integrity, honor, and professionalism. Bonds and Rose fail, miserably, on all accounts. Rose became a clown when he started chasing the dollar bill anywhere it would lead him and became an embarrassment for baseball, the city of Cincinnati, his family, and himself. The fact that people still defend this joke is beyond me. Should he be honored in the same hall as Ruth, Aaron, Bench, Morgan, etc. No way, IMO. There are items which lament Rose's accomplishments. That is enough. Why slime a building of honor by allowing Rose and Bonds in? Knowing Rose, he will probably demand cash (no checks) to show up anyway.
    Cobb was 1,000x the scumbag Pete, Bonds or McGwire ever were. If you want to protect whatever imaginary integrity the you believe the hall has, protest to get Cobb kicked out.

    If trash like Cobb get 98% of the vote, then Pete, Bonds etc. at least deserve to be on the ballot

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by joshua View Post
    Cobb was 1,000x the scumbag Pete, Bonds or McGwire ever were. If you want to protect whatever imaginary integrity the you believe the hall has, protest to get Cobb kicked out.

    If trash like Cobb get 98% of the vote, then Pete, Bonds etc. at least deserve to be on the ballot
    Cobb DID NOT bet on baseball. Cobb DID NOT shoot himself full of steroids. During his day, Cobb played the game with the same hard nosed style that Rose was famous for. Was Cobb an arse? Yeah. Temper? Yeah. But Cobb also mellowed out and came to grips about who he was and made an effort to change before he was inducted and did so for his own peace of mind, not for a pay check as Rose did. To put Cobb in with Rose and Bonds is a stretch.
    Last edited by armybrat45103; 08-03-2013 at 06:09 PM.

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by armybrat45103 View Post
    The Hall of Fame is about more than stats. It is also about integrity, honor, and professionalism. Bonds and Rose fail, miserably, on all accounts. Rose became a clown when he started chasing the dollar bill anywhere it would lead him and became an embarrassment for baseball, the city of Cincinnati, his family, and himself. The fact that people still defend this joke is beyond me. Should he be honored in the same hall as Ruth, Aaron, Bench, Morgan, etc. No way, IMO. There are items which lament Rose's accomplishments. That is enough. Why slime a building of honor by allowing Rose and Bonds in? Knowing Rose, he will probably demand cash (no checks) to show up anyway.
    That shrine is full of a-holes, bigots and outlaws who make Pete Rose look like Ned Flanders. I respect your opinion if you feel he should be barred for eternity, but not on the basis of any kind of honor and integrity.
    Rounding third and heading for home...

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by BluegrassRedleg View Post
    That shrine is full of a-holes, bigots and outlaws who make Pete Rose look like Ned Flanders. I respect your opinion if you feel he should be barred for eternity, but not on the basis of any kind of honor and integrity.
    I get what you are saying, but no, they don't make Pete look like Ned Flanders. Pete is a liar, a gambler and a cheater (on women). There are certainly worse in the HOF, but let's not take things overboard.

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by NorCal Reds Fan View Post
    Personally, I think it's ridiculous that players like Rose and Bonds are kept out of the HOF. It's a bunch of self-important writers, many of whom haven't even covered baseball in any meaningful way for years, who arrogantly and self-righteously appoint themselves as the "guardians" of baseball. Please. Pete Rose should be in, and as much as I don't care for Bonds, his Ruthian-type numbers dwarfed his contemporaries and he also belongs.
    The difference is though -at least IMO - is that while Rose broke a rule concerning gambling, his "Ruthian-type numbers", unlike Bonds, didn't come from performance-enhancing drugs.

    Bonds was a helluva ballplayer. IMO, with his natural talent and ability alone (like his Dad), he would have put up solid career numbers that would have probably guaranteed him a spot in the HOF.

    But his ego got in the way when he saw what McGwire and Sosa were doing, and all the attention they were getting, and he used steroids which, IMO, inflated those numbers to a certain degree.

    Rose not only broke a rule, but IMO, due to his ego, flaunted it, and deserved to be punished, and punished severely. But to what degree of severity? Isn't almost 25 years enough? Even criminals within our society, who have done far worse then a Pete Rose, are given the opportunity at a second chance.

    Pete Rose not only lived for the game of baseball, gave it everything he got, but contributed greatly to the game. And while his gambling shouldn't (and won't be) forgotten - he'll always have that hanging over his head the rest of his life no matter what - those wrong actions shouldn't overshadow, or cause us to ignore, what he contributed to the game.

    Some sort of compromise needs to be reached between MLB and Pete Rose. IMO, it has gone on long enough. And I think most of us who are now older, and grew up as a kid with Rose, the player, would agree.

    He should be in the HOF for what he accomplished on that field. He should never be allowed to manage again at the major league level; but I think Pete - and I think it's something he'd love to do - should be allowed to work somehow within the ranks of the minors.

    Give the guy a chance to redeem himself somehow towards a game that was his passion in life while he's still alive.

    That's my take.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post

    Rose not only broke a rule, but IMO, due to his ego, flaunted it, and deserved to be punished, and punished severely. But to what degree of severity? Isn't almost 25 years enough? Even criminals within our society, who have done far worse then a Pete Rose, are given the opportunity at a second chance.
    They don't all get a second chance. Some are punished for life. Just like Pete.

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    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    They don't all get a second chance. Some are punished for life. Just like Pete.
    I never said all get a second chance. While true, I get tired of hearing this reasoning of "If they didn't want to go to jail, or be punished, then they shouldn't have broken the law/rule". We're a society that believes in rehabilitation, redeeming people, even for some serious crimes, giving them second chances, and the opportunity to contribute positively to society once again.

    I grew up in the 60s admiring/idolizing this guy. IMO, one of the greatest ballplayers to ever play the game. Yes, what he did was wrong and deserved punishment. But the punishment has been enough IMO (almost 25 years). And he'll always carry that stigma, within the public's eye, that will never go away, of what he did.

    But he belongs in the HOF. And while he should never be able to manage again at the major league level, he should be allowed to work in some capacity within baseball to redeem himself and contribute.

    Human life is worth that effort.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC View Post
    The difference is though -at least IMO - is that while Rose broke a rule concerning gambling, his "Ruthian-type numbers", unlike Bonds, didn't come from performance-enhancing drugs.

    Bonds was a helluva ballplayer. IMO, with his natural talent and ability alone (like his Dad), he would have put up solid career numbers that would have probably guaranteed him a spot in the HOF.

    But his ego got in the way when he saw what McGwire and Sosa were doing, and all the attention they were getting, and he used steroids which, IMO, inflated those numbers to a certain degree.

    Rose not only broke a rule, but IMO, due to his ego, flaunted it, and deserved to be punished, and punished severely. But to what degree of severity? Isn't almost 25 years enough? Even criminals within our society, who have done far worse then a Pete Rose, are given the opportunity at a second chance.

    Pete Rose not only lived for the game of baseball, gave it everything he got, but contributed greatly to the game. And while his gambling shouldn't (and won't be) forgotten - he'll always have that hanging over his head the rest of his life no matter what - those wrong actions shouldn't overshadow, or cause us to ignore, what he contributed to the game.

    Some sort of compromise needs to be reached between MLB and Pete Rose. IMO, it has gone on long enough. And I think most of us who are now older, and grew up as a kid with Rose, the player, would agree.

    He should be in the HOF for what he accomplished on that field. He should never be allowed to manage again at the major league level; but I think Pete - and I think it's something he'd love to do - should be allowed to work somehow within the ranks of the minors.

    Give the guy a chance to redeem himself somehow towards a game that was his passion in life while he's still alive.

    That's my take.
    Here's the thing on PEDs, and I know I'm in the minority: I don't care. I really don't. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, et al. were full-grown adults that voluntarily chose to use PEDs even with the risk of detrimental side-effects. While not "everyone" did it, it was during a time when a lot of things were allowed in MLB, and MLB essentially gave it all tacit approval with a wink here and a nod there. The 1994 strike was a signifcant blow to the popularity of the game, and if 'roid-fueled HRs got butts back in the seats and eyes on the TV screen, Selig & Co. were cool with it. And really, "steroids" were an issue going back to the 80s, notably with Jose Canseco...I can still recall the '88 ALCS and Red Sox fans chanting "STERRROIDS, STERRROIDS". And in '96, there was Brady Anderson hitting 50 HRs. MLB didn't care.

    I don't need self-righteous "guardians" to look out for my kids. That's my job. If they ever make the decision to take PEDs, that's my fault, not Barry Bonds', nor some writer for giving him a HOF vote.

    So the rules have changed now...now MLB "cares". Fine. The rules are known. Get caught, get suspended. I just think it's silly to say I'm going to apply circa 2010-henceforth rules to what you did in the 90's and early 00's.

    As for Pete Rose, I pretty much agree with you. To me, the good he did for the game: running to first on a walk, head-first dives/slides, balls-out hustle, far outweigh the betting. And I think he still could offer some "good" to the game if only allowed to do so.

    Either way, it's really just not a very big pebble in my shoe. On my List Of Things To Worry About, Pete Rose or Barry Bonds being the in HOF doesn't even get honorable mention. I think they and a few others should be in, but whether they are or not, oh well, I still have to get up to go to work tomorrow.

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by NorCal Reds Fan View Post
    Personally, I think it's ridiculous that players like Rose and Bonds are kept out of the HOF. It's a bunch of self-important writers, many of whom haven't even covered baseball in any meaningful way for years, who arrogantly and self-righteously appoint themselves as the "guardians" of baseball. Please. Pete Rose should be in, and as much as I don't care for Bonds, his Ruthian-type numbers dwarfed his contemporaries and he also belongs.
    Pete Rose is NOT on the ballot. The writers have NO control over that.

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    agree great post, and tony cloninger nailed those grnd slams off ray sadecki

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    Re: Pete Rose, a block away and impossibly far from the Hall of Fame

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Cloninger View Post
    Pete Rose is NOT on the ballot. The writers have NO control over that.
    Fair point. But I've hear/read enough sanctimony from the "guardians" on high to hazard a guess that it wouldn't matter even if he were.


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