It actually makes perfect sense. I met Pete Rose in Las Vegas. Anyone who knows the story of Pete Rose knows that if you’re going to run into him anywhere, it would be Las Vegas. For eighty dollars, I sat next to baseball’s all-time hits leader as he signed a baseball and posed in a few photos with me. For one-hundred and fifty dollars, he would sign the baseball with the quote, “I’m sorry I bet on baseball.” It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. Many will argue that he should never be reinstated into the game, let alone be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I beg to differ.
Pete Rose sits on top of Major League Baseball’s all-time hit leaders with 4,256. This is sixty-seven more hits than Ty Cobb, four hundred and eighty-five more hits than Hank Aaron, and 1,163 more hits than Alex Rodriguez (most hits among active players). Rose’s record will not be broken in my lifetime, and I am completely fine with that. The man bet on baseball which is a horrible thing. In the steroid era that still effects the game today, betting doesn’t seem so bad to me. If Barry Bonds did indeed use steroids to help him set the home-run record, I can understand and agree that he has no place in the hall of fame. But, how does betting on the game impact stats? Pete Rose was one of the best hitters to ever step on the field and his stats will back that statement up. What he simply did, which is not condoned by any means necessary, was take the Vegas odds to make additional money. Whether that was winning or losing, he didn’t care. He certainly did not try and throw any games, as evidence was never able to be produced to show this. MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, made the announcement in December that Pete Rose would not be reinstated. (See here for full statement: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/pete-rose-should-still-have-his-day-before-the-hall-of-fame-voters/ ) This was one of the first major decisions Manfred had to make after taking over as the commissioner. I can understand his dilemma. Although Rose was suspended 26 years ago, this is still a very hot topic today. No one wants to be the one to overhaul one of the biggest black eyes in professional sports. With that being said, it eventually needs to happen.
As bad as steroids has been for the game, it couldn’t be better for Rose. Steroids impacts stats. Betting, such as the case for Rose, did not affect his stats. If he was trying not to get hits, it would be scary to see how many more hits he would have accumulated. ESPN columnist, Jayson Stark, made a perfect statement in his June 2015 article, “All 4,256 of the Hit King’s hits counted, right? Not one of them has ever been stripped, asterisked up or erased from the record books. He never had to give back his MVP trophy or his rookie of the year award. Never turned in his World Series rings. Never had a single game he played in — 3,645 of them, counting All-Star Games and October classics — ruled by the proper authorities not to have happened. It all happened.” (You can read his full article at: http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/13136055/pete-rose-belongs-hall-fame ) Major League Baseball never stripped any of his records and the World Series rings that he won, well, he still owns them. He played the game clean, and in a society today where a home run record has a big fat asterisk next to it, I have to ask, was betting really that wrong?