Diamonds in the Rough: The Hit King, Pete Rose
Sept 8th, 1985, in the first inning of a game at home against Padres, Pete Rose steps into the box with a career stat line of 4,191 hits, which he was currently tied with Ty Cobb for the Major League Record. In this At-bat Pete Rose would hit a ball to left center field for career hit 4,192 and claim the record for himself and put a stamp on his Hall of Fame Career.
In 1985 if you asked any of the fans, players or anyone in attendance, is Pete Rose a Hall of Famer, not a single person would have said anything besides yes.
Four years later MLB Commissioner Bud Selig would inform Pete Rose he is placed on MLB’s permanently ineligible list and the BBWAA set forth a rule that any player on that list was not eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame. This list also includes Shoeless Joe Jackson and Eddie Cicotte, both Black Sox players have Hall of Fame credentials.
My take on this is, while the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are at least granted the opportunity to be on the ballot than Pete Rose should be as well. Yes, what he did is a No-No, but we all make mistakes in life. Applaud Pete Rose for what he accomplished on the field not off the field, even if his off the field actions took place while he was on the field. His gambling habits didn’t give him a competitive advantage over the competition. How did his gambling create a negative impact on the game of baseball? It didn’t, not even a bit.
I highly doubt I have to list the records Pete Rose still has, or list his awards. Everyone knows who Pete Rose is and everyone knows what Rose accomplished on the field makes him Hall of Fame worthy. I’ll say it again, stop punishing him for making bad decisions off the field.
Put Pete Rose on the ballot and let the voters decide if he should be elected or not.