Gosh, I hate disagreeing with a pal of mine, but I can’t let this one go.
Lance Lahnert, sports editor of the Amarillo Globe-News, said in his weekly “My 2 Cents” column today that Pete Rose belongs in Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Umm, I don’t believe so, Lance.
“I saw that Sports Illustrated put Pete Rose on its magazine cover since it’s been 25 years since his banning from baseball,” Lahnert writes. “It’s a tired issue if Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame or not. Rose didn’t bet on baseball as a player setting the all-time hit record. He belongs in the Hall of Fame as a player.”
There you have it. That’s what my buddy said about Rose.
Why do I disagree with him?
Well, for starters I’m kind of a fuddy-duddy about some things — such as rules and regulations. I believe they ought to be obeyed to the letter.
Big league baseball has this clause in its rulebook that says that betting on baseball shall result in a lifetime ban from the game. By definition that means the offender doesn’t qualify for the Hall of Fame, no matter how prodigious his statistics.
Rose’s stats are impressive, starting with him being the all-time career leader in base hits.
He had a stellar career with the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos. I do no deny that he played the game with unbridled verve and enthusiasm that more than likely made up for whatever pure athletic skill he lacked. He was a gamer.
But while managing the Reds he bet on games involving his team. That darn rule book stipulates in black and white that betting on baseball games while being active in the game is a no-no. It doesn’t say that doing it as a manager but not a player somehow shades the infraction enough to allow Hall of Fame induction as a player; indeed, Rose compiled only a so-so record as a manager.
It pains me to insist that MLB continue to ban one of the game’s true stars from the Hall of Fame. However, the guy committed a major violation. The punishment is clear. He’s banned for life. Save the Hall of Fame for the players — and managers — who followed the rules.