The Pryor Times

Z_CNHI News Service

June 19, 2014

Baseball should reinstate Pete Rose

It would be simple to study Pete Rose’s record as a player with the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies and determine whether he should be elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. Certainly. Absolutely. Without a doubt.

But because of Rose’s foolish choice to bet heavily on sports, especially baseball, there's never been a vote about his worthiness to be inducted in the game’s shrine in Cooperstown, N.Y. After a long investigation conducted by Major League Baseball, Rose was banned from the game.

There was every reason to agree with Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s decision in 1989 to end Rose’s association with baseball. It meant little that Rose held the record for career hits. He knowingly broke one of baseball’s sacred rules, and there was a steep price to pay.

Rose, who once accepted the cheers and accolades of a champion, faced a life of shame and ridicule.

Many years have passed, and the once-great player has survived by signing autographs along the Las Vegas strip and about anywhere else someone will give him an appearance fee. It’s as if he’s been imprisoned but not locked behind bars.

This summer marks the 25th anniversary of Giamatti’s ruling and certainly will draw a public review of Rose’s actions and the appropriateness of his lifetime ban. In fact, it’s already begun.

This week Rose served a day as manager of the Bridgeport, Conn., Bluefish, an independent league team, and again expressed hope that one day his lifetime ban will be lifted. He sounded contrite in an interview with ESPN’s Darren Rovell: “I’ve waited 25 years but I’ve done so because I was the one who screwed up. And if I were given a second chance, I would be the happiest guy in the world.”

The question to consider, as in most matters where rules were broken and punishment assigned, is whether Rose has repaid his debt to his profession and a loving fan base? Has the fallen been punished enough? Is he truly repentant?

Over the years I’ve had little mercy for Rose. He was a person with great skill but little integrity.

Yet, at times it was difficult to reconcile my feelings for him as one of the greatest players of all time – especially as an athlete who led his hometown team to championships – with that of a ballplayer whose achievements were masked by mistrust and suspicion.

I’ve now changed my mind. The time has come for Rose to be admitted to the Hall of Fame. He has lived with shame for long enough.

There are those who think the cardinal sin he committed can never be erased or repaid. That’s their opinion.

Given the problems that baseball and all professional have faced over the years - especially the carefree use of drugs - Rose’s ban is worthy of a second look.

Public opinion polls continue to show strong support for acknowledging Rose’s achievements. It would also seem appropriate that any plaque for him note his long banishment from the game. It’s all part of his story.

How this could happen and by whom is unclear. If Giamatti banned him, it would seem right that Bud Selig, the outgoing commissioner, reinstate him before leaving office at the end of the year. It might be similar to a president pardoning someone as he leaves the White House.

Rose has been a conflicting figure for as long as he’s been around the game. He’s not alone. Baseball has long had those who tarnished the game with their misdeeds - the Chicago "Black Sox" who threw the 1919 World Series;  Detroit’s Denny McLain, who was as accomplished at embezzlement as he was pitching; and all those players associated with steroids and performance enhancing drugs.

There’s no question about Rose’s guilt. There should also be no doubt that he’s paid a high price for his crime.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Church's denied request for National Guard visit draws national attention

    A Missouri church finds itself in the middle of a media storm after the Missouri National Guard, citing short notice and time constraints, was not able to fulfill a request last week to appear at the church’s vacation Bible school.

    August 1, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster

    Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140727-AMX-GUNS271.jpg Beretta, other gun makers heading to friendlier states

    In moving south and taking 160 jobs with it, Beretta joins several other prominent gunmakers abandoning liberal states that passed tough gun laws after the Newtown shooting.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014