Let me start by saying - I'm not qualified to have voice my opinion on this. I'm not a Reds fan. I'm an Indians fan. My experience growing up was an occasional Reds game on the radio, then the World Series on TV. So I did see Pete Rose a few times, but I'm hardly an expert.
But so many unqualified people voice their opinions on so many things these days: Brexit, Harambe, politics, you name it.
Besides, it's my blog...
So... Should Pete Rose be in the hall of fame?
I have had strong feelings about this for a number of years. Strong that no he should not.
But then I decided to look at WHY I felt he should not. Other than the gambling, there were three reasons:
1. I felt like his pursuit of the hits record was done at the expense of other players. When Rose managed the Reds in 1985 and 1986 he put his name in the starting lineup even though he had what I felt were better options. Especially in 1986. Kal Daniels (OPS .917) and Tracy Jones (OPS .860) were sometimes on the bench while Pete (ops .586) played.
Looking back, I still don't like this, but it's really not a reason to keep him out of the Hall of Fame. It isn't like Kal or Tracy either one wound up going to Cooperstown. And the argument could be made that both Kal and Tracy were so successful that year because they were only put in situations where they could excel.
2. I was still mad about the 1970 All Star Game and Ray Fosse. Enough said - not a reason to keep him out.
3. He had an awful haircut. Just kidding. I mean about that being a reason to keep him out. Not kidding about the haircut. It was bad even by 1970s standards.
Yeah Phil, but what about the betting on baseball?
In 2015, John Dowd, the man who handled the Pete Rose investigation, gave an interview to the Cincinnati Enquirer. He said something that changed my mind:
"Interviews with Dowd and others reveal this: Rose could have avoided his eventual conviction on tax evasion and his five months in prison – in addition to his lifetime ban from baseball – if he had only come clean in 1989.
It was fairly common knowledge back then that Giamatti was open to a suspension for Rose if the Reds manager would admit to gambling on baseball and enter treatment for his gambling addiction."
So if we boil it down - what Pete Rose did was not serious enough to get a lifetime ban, if he just said "Yeah, I did it." In other words, Pete Rose is suspended because he didn't confess. Kind of like the Spanish inquisition... nobody expects that...
(Cue Monty Python).
The bottom line:
After I read that, I looked at the bottom line.
Assume we were able to replay every baseball game in history, but this time every player would give it his all on every play. Assume he would show up ready to play, and never take a moment off.
Would Babe Ruth have more than 714 home runs? I'll bet he would.
Would Pete Rose have more than 4,256 hits? I don't think so.
When I look at it like that - I come up with a new answer: Yes, he should be in the Hall of Fame.