Pete Rose? In the Hall of Fame? Not Unless the Rules are Changed
Even with the latest report from ESPN's Outside the Lines documenting that Pete Rose bet on baseball games, including games in which he participated as both a player and a manager, there are many who think the all time hits leader belongs in Baseball's Hall of Fame.
Before the report, there was a groundswell of support for Rose, who agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball back in 1989. At the time, he denied ever betting on baseball games, a stance he held for 15 years, until he needed to sell some books.
Then he did a mea culpa. Said all the right things. Admitted what he did was wrong. And, fans over the last decade were ready to forgive him. As time went on, that number increased.
Rose steadfastly denied betting on games while he was still playing the game. In fact, he did it as recently as April on a New York talk show.
But all that appears to have exploded in Rose's face with the latest piece of information.
Even with that, ESPN's Jayson Stark says he believes Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. And, Stark, as so many have, brings up performance enhancing drug users. Stark suggests there are many in the Hall who have done wrong.
And Stark is absolutely right in that regard. There are a lot of HOF members who were not choirboys.
But there's something about Rose's case that is different. Something that we all seem to have forgotten. Yes, we know there's a sign in every Major League Clubhouse talking about not gambling on games. But do we all understand that, not only is there a rule, but there is a penalty for violation of that rule?
BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year.
Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.
Permanently. Ineligible. As in forever.
Rose knew the rule. He knew the penalty. He even agreed to it.
He's been asking for a do-over. And, there were some who believed he had a shot. Still do.
And, as soon as baseball rescinds the rule and the penalty and make it okay for players to call the integrity of the game into question by betting on games (even with bookies who are Mob connected) then the Rose supporters have something to question.
But until that happens, there's really nothing to discuss. The rule does NOT say "unless you have more hits than anyone in baseball history in which case it's okay."
Rose bet on baseball while he was performing his duties as a manager and as a player.