By Austin Hutchinson
One of the biggest controversies in sports. Should Pete Rose be elected into the Hall of Fame?
I wasn’t around when Pete Rose played. I wasn’t around when he was investigated by baseball for breaking Rule 21, gambling on baseball itself. I wasn’t around when Major League Baseball’s Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti handed down a permanent, lifetime ban from “Charlie Hustle’s” participation in pro baseball.
What I do know is this. This man put his whole entire heart and soul while playing baseball. He broke many records, most significantly the all time hits record, 4,256. As a member and captain of the Cincinnati Reds’ “The Big Red Machine”, he helped bring two championships in 1975 and 1976 to his ball club, as well as another one in 1980 with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Recently I purchased Pete Rose’s biography, “My Prison Without Bars”, co-written by Rick Hill. While going through his book, I experienced his life from his perspective. The perspective that told me he was a hustler. When he found he loved something, he worked so hard at it, because he believed he was able to accomplish anything. That’s the drive and passion that turned a tiny, unathletically gifted, 5’11” 190 pound man into one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
The problem is, because he was driven to extreme lengths to accomplish anything, he believed he was invincible. Even to the point of gambling on the very sport he plays, baseball. He took to illegal bookmakers to place bets while he was managing the Reds, was caught and ratted out by his fellow bet runners and was disciplined harshly by baseball for his despicable sin, gambling on a sport he plays.
A few days ago ESPN’s Outside The Lines reported they had received documents proving that Pete Rose bet on baseball as a player after he was traded to the Reds in the middle of the 1984 season. Of course you have John Dowd, the original detective that produced the “Dowd Report,” a 225 page document of all the supposed gambling activities Pete Rose participated in, legal or not, come out and voice that Pete Rose’s lifetime ban shouldn’t be lifted.
If this documentation is true, for the past 24 years, Pete Rose has blatantly lied to us. Rose told lie after lie, up until finally admitting to betting on baseball to Commissioner Bud Selig some 13 years ago. But he admitted to betting on baseball as a manager, and only as a manager. Maybe Pete Rose believed if he told another “white lie” that he could get away with looking better himself. If he was a little bit less of a criminal to the game, maybe his chances would improve that one day his permanent ban might be removed and he could join the greatest club for any baseball player, the Hall of Fame.
When Pete Rose asked Commissioner Giamatti what it would take for Pete Rose to get back into baseball, Mr. Giamatti stated he expected Rose to exhibit a “redirected, reconfigured, or rehabilitated life.” If a man has not fully admitted to his complete moral failure to, at the least, the head of the organization he wronged, if not the millions of fans who love the man for his great success in the game they love, he has not done any of those 3 Rs. A man who has lied to the fans, the media, and the head of MLB over and over again, has not learned anything but to avoid the severity his own gambling disorder.
Pete Rose, will be remembered for a long time that he gambled on his own sport. But no one will ever forget that he lied numerous time to save his own honor. All Rose really did was prove that he deserves none. That’s why he does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
A man with no honor should not be honored for his fame. Et tu, Pete Rose.