Should Pete Rose Be Forgiven?





Mr. Briley teaches history at the Sandia Prepatory School.

So Pete Rose has finally admitted that he bet on baseball while he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. His confession and latest autobiography My Prison Without Bars are part of a well orchestrated campaign to convince Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to reinstate baseball's all-time hits leader, paving the way for his induction into the Hall of Fame. Public opinion polls support Rose, and Commissioner Selig, a former used car dealer never known for his strong principled stands, appears posed to grant the wishes of Rose and his fans.

Before we rush to embrace Rose, however, there remain unanswered questions regarding Rose's gambling, and his actions need to be placed within the larger historical context of wagering by baseball players. For example, what do we make of the fact that Rose has publicly lied to us for fourteen years about his gambling practices. His earlier autobiography now has to be thrown on the trash heap, but we are expected to believe him this time. Many observers believe that dealing with the Rose scandal drove Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti to an early grave; while former Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent insists that Rose has not come clean. According to Vincent, Rose bet on baseball games during his playing career, an admission which is not forthcoming in Rose's new book. Perhaps we will have to wait another fourteen years and Rose's next autobiography to get the full story.

Those unacquainted with baseball history may wonder what the Rose controversy is all about; after all, no one is accusing Rose of betting against his own team and throwing games. Of course, the fear is that a manager or player might fall deeply into debt with gamblers and be tempted to influence games in order to pay off obligations. And baseball in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had a reputation for athletes conspiring with gamblers to fix games. These allegations ranged from the notorious Hal Chase to future Hall of Famers such as Tris Speaker and Ty Cobb.

Speculation regarding baseball and gambling culminated in the 1919 World Series in which eight players from the highly-favored Chicago White Sox were accused of making arrangements with gamblers to throw the games and allow the Cincinnati Reds to capture the championship. The White Sox players were never convicted of these actions in a court of law, for the confessions given before a grand jury disappeared and were not used in the public trial. The acquitted players, however, were banned from baseball for life by newly appointed Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis, a federal judge who had earned a reputation for being tough with radicals such as the IWW and wanted to make an example of the so-called Black Sox. The banned players included Shoeless Joe Jackson, a semiliterate South Carolina mill hand whom many insist was the greatest hitter in the history of the game, and third baseman Buck Weaver, whose alleged crime was not reporting the conversations between gamblers and his teammates. Both Jackson and Weaver enjoyed good performances in the 1919 Series, and some of Jackson 's defenders believe that the outfielder may not have completely understood his dealings with the gamblers.

In his seminal study of the Black Sox scandal, Eight Men Out, Eliot Asinof argues that Jackson and his teammates were driven to fix the 1919 Series because they were economically exploited by White Sox owner Charles Comiskey. This interpretation was also essential to director John Sayles's fine film version of Eight Men Out . Such charges of exploitation, however, hardly extend to the career of Pete Rose, who became one of baseball's early lucrative free agents.

In defense of Pete Rose, it is true that he has an addiction. The first step in getting help for an addiction is recognition that one has a problem. Rose has been able to assume some responsibility for his gambling problems, but it is not apparent that he has been completely honest with himself and the public.

Perhaps Rose's confessions merit some forgiveness. But if Rose's qualifications for Cooperstown are going to be reevaluated, it is high time that we also reconsider Joe Jackson's credentials for the Hall of Fame and posthumously lift Buck Weaver's banishment. Rose's aggressive play and accomplishments on the field may justify his enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but his personal life and addictions do not bode well for his return to the sport. Could we really trust Pete Rose to manage another team? I wouldn't bet on it.


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Dalton James Gruber - 4/26/2007

Pete Rose is the sickest mug out now. his time and tradition is one that can not be messed with.


Dalton James Gruber - 4/26/2007

I think that Pete Rose has no reasonof staying out of the Hall of Fame. He is one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived. His decision of bettingon baseball was the wrong one but should nt interfere with his personal pro-baseball career.


JD Holmes - 1/23/2004

I think that Pete Rose has no reasonof staying out of the Hall of Fame. He is one of the greatest baseball players who ever lived. His decision of bettingon baseball was the wrong one but should nt interfere with his personal pro-baseball career.


Ben Dover - 1/16/2004

Pete Rose is the sickest mug out now. his time and tradition is one that can not be messed with.


Derek Catsam - 1/14/2004

Just a game? Just a game! Egads, man! . . .


Mike Yak - 1/14/2004

That sounds like a pretty cool idea; like a gold tier, silver tier and bronze tier or something.

Of course then we'd be debating on who deserves which tier.

Well, it is just a game afterall...


Derek Catsam - 1/14/2004

John, Mike --
On Dewey: I agree. What I loved about him is that he got steadily better as his career progressed. Throughout the 1970s he was a great field (multiple gold glove and made one of the greatest World series catches of all time) but mediocre hit type. But by the 1980s he was a legitimate hitter, a power threat, and a clear leader on that team. I absolutely would love to see him in the Hall of Fame.
I find it perplexing, in fact, that people seem to want to limit the numbers now of people getting in, even though there are similar ratios across the history of the hall. If we start seriously reducing numbers what we'll get is a pig in the python that represents the halcyon glory days that never were, sanctifying the 1920s-1960s at the expense of the much better athletes and probably better players of the 1970s to the present.
As for Ripken and longevity,look, I'll repeat it since the point seems to be lost: Ripken belongs in the Hall of Fame. But one can be a Hall of Famer, and in that context still be overrated. I love Bob Ryan's idea of a tiered hall of fame, whereby you have a pyramid with three or four levels. At the top would be your Ruth, Williams, Aaron, Mays, Bonds, Young etc. types. Next tier might be a Schmidt, Ott, Clemente, etc. level, and so on. This way you can maintain a modicum of exclusivity, can still keep on letting people who are deserving of such honors in, and maybe even adjust for inflation of past players who are now ensconsed such as Reese and Sutton and Mazeroski who may stake a claim to greatness but it is a relative one. Surely this setup, while it may have flaws, will also give the Murphy, Rice, Evans, Morris crowd their day in the sun without worrying us overly if they belong next to Robinson and Ford.

dc


John Kipper - 1/14/2004

Mr. Catsm, on occassion, you can be an icredtably insightful poster. Still, I wish that you, as a Bosox fan, would be more vocal in support of Dewey.

Even so, you are right. The Sox might have traded Rice for Sutton and a pitcher to be named later (preferably Vanzuela or Herschisher, but never straight up.

Also kudos for remembering Dale Murphy, who had at least two seasons of incredible offensive dominance. And, he was a nice guy, too.


Mike Yak - 1/14/2004

I think you are dismissing the fact that the longevity and stamina of Ripken are, in and of itself, a great feat of athleticism. How can you compare a sprinter to a marathon runner? Because there are guys who run faster miles, does that lessen the accomplishment of a great marathoner? Most players are/were simply not physically capable of Ripken's longevity. You seem to think that he merely refused to quit and any player could have done the same. True enough, in the last couple of years, Ripken may otherwise have been sat were it not for the streak, but in my mind, that does not decrease the accomplishment.

There are a lot more folks who can claim Rice's numbers than Ripken's stamina. We don't know how long ARod, Nomar or Jeter's careers will be...but, I'd agree they are a new breed of shortstop that Ripken does not compare favorably too on any given day. And of course, baseball today is much more offensive than throughout the bulk of Ripken's career. Player's are bigger, stronger...it is nearly impossible to compare player's equally across different generations.

I am actually surprised that Ripken's and Rice's batting stats are that close. In retrospect, if you were a franchise, would you rather have Rice in the outfield for 16 years or Ripken, at shortstop, for 24?? I agree Jerry Rice was the dominant hitter of the league for a few years, 77-79 for sure. Saying he was the most feared hitting through 1986 is a definite stretch. Then again, Ripken was the MVP twice and Rice only once. Notwithstanding, there is another part of a baseball game called Defense...where Ripken not only played perhaps the most critical position at shortstop, but also won 2 gold gloves. Rice played outfield and never won a gold glove.

Jim Rice was an outstanding player, no doubt, and probably worthy of induction---but Cal Ripken he is not.


Derek Catsam - 1/12/2004

How many of us have never missed a day of work in 18 years? Well, is that at all relevant? How many of ua are paid in the millions to play baseball 3 hours a day 162 times a year? His streak is a great thing and probably warrants his inclusion in the hall, but among those in the Hall, Ripken is overrated. By the time their careers are done, ARod, Nomar and much as I hate to say it jeter will all of surpoassed Ripken -- at this moment any of those three is better than Ripen ever was at any gioven time in his career.
As for Ripken v. Rice, here is an average season for each:

Stat: Rice Ripken
Hits: 163 152
Doubles: 25 28
Triples: 5 2
Home Runs: 25 20
RBI: 95 80

Hmmmmm . . . . . Shall we look at batting average? Slugging percentage? Again, Ripken's place is reasonably secure, but to say Jim Rice does not belong, well, then who from the 1970s does?

By the way -- Don Sutton pitched for 23 years and surpassed 20 wins exactly once. This is the ultimate example of a case where has at any point the Dodgers or any other of Sutton's teams called the Red Sox and said "we'll trade Sutton even up for Rice" they'd have heard a busy signal on the other end. Further, at any point would anyone have traded Dale Murphy, Jack Morris, Catfish Hunter, Bruce Sutter Steve Garvey, or Dwight Evans even up for Don Sutton? Not a chance on earth.


Derek Catsam - 1/12/2004

These other crimes are not relevant. Pete Rose broke the one that the baseball rules explicitly state warrants lifetime suspension. he did it. He's now admitted to it. Is Pete Rose above the rules of the game? Mr. Burns seems to believe that he is. If Selig or anyone else grants him exemption, that's fine, i guess. Until that moment, Pete Rose broke the most important and well known rule in all of baseball and then he proceeded to lie about it for more than a decade. Then on top of that he says his makeup doesn't allow him to be sorry or apologetic. Bah.


Stu Burns - 1/12/2004

Don Sutton won 324 games (twelfth all-time), pitched 58 shutouts (tenth all-time) and struck out 3,574 batters (seventh all-time). Jim Rice accomplished nothing comparable to this.


Stu Burns - 1/12/2004

I appreciate the concerns of folks distressed by Pete Rose's amoral behavior, and agree that he has not been true to the highest ideals of the game. However, in the context of the Baseball Hall of Fame, such behavior is not unique. For example, currently enshrined are:

*A convicted drug smuggler (Orlando Cepeda);

*Another player convicted of taking drugs across international borders (Ferguson Jenkins, who was also given a "lifetime suspension" later revoked in arbitration);

*A player who bragged about beating a man to death with a gun butt (Ty Cobb);

*Several players who played for a team owned by an illegal gambler (Stachel Paige, Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, and Judy Johnson);

*An enshrinee who urinated in the clubhouse shower after being repeatedly asked not to do so (Rogers Hornsby; this may not be against the rules of baseball per se, but it certainly is not in keeping with the highest examples of the game).

Further, I doubt that lovers of the game have to worry about Rose managing again. Baseball's general managers have not earned a reputation for sublime judgement during my lifetime, but hiring Pete Rose to manage seems beyond even their capacity for error. There are, however, several capacities in which Rose may be particularly useful to the game. For example, Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt will be managing minor league ball this season and would like his young players to hear about the dangers of gambling from someone who has been there. Under the terms of his suspension, Rose is prohibited from doing this.

Finally, I would argue that Rose has been punished. He has been banned from baseball for fourteen years (correct me if I am off on the dates). Baseball should reinstate Rose like it reinstated Mantle and Mays in 1985.


John Kipper - 1/11/2004

I certainly agree with you about Rice. And I would also propose Dewey, Dwight Evans. But I would also insist upon Steve Garvey. By the way, how did Don Sutton get in? Damned if I know.


Mike Yak - 1/9/2004

I agree with all of that and then some. How many of us can say we haven't missed a day of work in 18 years? And I would venture that most of us don't have the physically demanding job of a professional athlete. Heck, even as a twice a week athlete, I've been sidelined nearly every year with minor injuries. The streak alone is just mind boggling--then to think for 18 years this guy played one of the most demanding positions in baseball and was one of the best at his position.


Jesse Lamovsky - 1/9/2004

Cal Ripken had limited range at what has always been a defensive position (which probably helped his fielding percentage). He's in the Hall of Fame because he played consistently well for a long time, got 3,000 hits, and played in the most consecutive games. With his numbers, he'd be in no matter what position he played. He's not a Hall of Fame shortstop in the sense of Ozzie Smith, who meets the criteria of dominance with his glove alone.

Rickey Henderson may be hanging around the game for a long time, but he broke his stolen base record in 1990, his twelfth season. It took Lou Brock nineteen seasons to set the record. Henderson more than worthy of induction.

Bowie Kuhn wasn't under the thumb of the owners? He was a lawyer for them!


Matt Norman - 1/9/2004

I still think it is a big stretch to call Ripken overrated. Even without the streak, his hitting and fielding numbers are very impressive. If Ripken is overrated, then what about someone like Ozzie Smith? If Jim Rice belongs in the Hall, then what about Jose Canseco? I always thought the Hall was for the best of the best. Rose and Ryan are perhaps a bit overrated but there is something to be said for longevity. They were both productive players to the end, and unlike some players (Rickey Henderson), they did not hang around just so they could set more records. I think Goose Gossage did more for the position of relief pitcher than Eck, and the save is one of the most overrated stats in the game. While I am on the soapbox, baseball needs to have a strong commissioner who is not under the thumb of the owners. The Selig business is an embarrassment. The game really could use a Bowie Kuhn or Giamatti.


Jonathan Dresner - 1/8/2004

I'm not going to argue that Cal Ripken was the most productive hitter, but his fielding instincts were extraordinary. His ability to be in the right place at the right time made his fielding look easy, but he also had a remarkable ability to reach, stop and throw out hits that other shorstops would have just watched sail by.

And he was one of the last loyal players: his committment to the Baltimore Orioles and to the Baltimore-Maryland area were unparalleled in modern sports. He was a rare sportsman, a leader, and an extraordinary player. Even if the streak hadn't happened he would have been a Hall of Famer on the first round, but he did, indeed have an unbroken string of played games so long it could have been bar mitzvahed....

But they don't play pro ball here, not even minor league. Too bad. I miss the Orioles, the Red Sox, the Cedar Rapids Kernels (there's nothing quite like A-level ball).....


Jonathan Dresner - 1/8/2004

You are conflating the historical mission of the Hall of Fame with the honors conferred through the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose's career, both fame and notoriety are unquestionably part of the historical record. But he dishonored the game and himself and does not deserve the special honor which goes to those who are elected to the Hall of Fame by writers and peers.

Count me among those who think that a "lifetime" ban should be just that: there should be no consideration of reinstatement during his lifetime. He had the chance to mitigate his guilt in 1989, but instead he's dragged this around for a decade and a half before panicking himself into confession. I'm not impressed.


Mike Yak - 1/8/2004

I think most people would agree that Pete Rose should be prohibited from actively participating in Major League baseball for the rest of his life. I am 100% in favor of that.

What is the purpose of the hall of fame though? From their own mission statement

"Through its mission, the Museum is committed to:

Collecting, through donation, baseball artifacts, works of art, literature, photographs, memorabilia and related materials which focus on the history of the game over time, its players, and those elected to the Hall of Fame.

Preserving the collections by adhering to professional museum standards with respect to conservation and maintaining a permanent record of holdings through documentation, study, research, cataloging and publication.

Exhibiting material in permanent gallery space, organizing on-site changing exhibitions on various themes, with works from the Hall of Fame collections or other sources, working with other individuals or organizations to exhibit loaned material of significance to baseball and providing related research facilities.

Interpreting artifacts through its exhibition and education programs to enhance awareness, understanding and appreciation of the game for a diverse audience.

Honoring, by enshrinement, those individuals who had exceptional careers, and recognizing others for their significant achievements."

Certainly, Pete Rose had an exceptional career. It is the duty of the Hall of Fame to honor that career. As an historical institution, it is incomplete without Pete Rose. It can be argued whether or not he was one of the all-time greats. I believe he was, but sure there may have been those with better years, or better spans. How many people can say that they are the all-time leader in anything though? So, he didn't have as many RBIs as some, or as many HRs or stolen bases, but base hits is what he did, and he did more of it than anyone else, ever.

I don't think his admission is even an issue, he should have been enshrined years ago on the merit of his playing, that is what the Hall is for.

I believed than and believe now that Pete Rose bet on baseball AND I believed then and believe now that he should be enshrined into the Hall of Fame.


Jesse Lamovsky - 1/8/2004

First off, I can't believe anybody is even discussing re-instating Rose to Organized Baseball. That should be completely out of the question.

As for Jim Rice, I might cut his period as the dominant power hitter in baseball down to between 1977 and '79. He had several great years in the '80s but wasn't quite at the same level as he was with the Zimmer-era Red Sox. Another border-line guy whom Rice compares to is Albert Belle, who was the best power hitter in the game with the Indians during the mid-90s, but has no chance at induction because of his corrosive personality (threw a ball at a fan; threw a ball at a photographer; cussed out Hannah Storm; cross body-blocked Fernando Vina; etc.). Any player who can be recognized as the best of his era, for multiple seasons, should at least merit consideration. Rice and Belle both meet this criteria.

I always thought Cal Ripken was overrated as well. Glad someone else does.

Eckersley, to be sure, was not the classic Rollie Fingers-type "fireman". He almost never entered a game before the ninth inning, and he was usually used only in save situations. But he did win nearly 200 games, and he pitched a no-hitter with the Indians, before they traded him to Boston (for Ted Cox!).


Derek Catsam - 1/8/2004

Given their overall numbers I would likely have to agree on Ripken and Rose versus Rice, but I also think that both, while clear Hall of Fame caliber, are overrated (allow me to throw Nolan Ryan into that mix as well.) But Rice was hands down, bar none, no questions asked the most feared power hitter in the league from 1975 to about 1986. His numbers are deflated because he played in an era when the numbers were less gaudy than today, but I'll put Rice's numbers in the five or even ten years of his prime against Rose's or Ripken's any time. Ripken did play a more key position, which is huge, but look at Rice's output from 1975-1981 or so, and tell me which you'd rather have. Rice was surly and difficult with the press or else he'd be in the Hall now.
Eck redefined the modern relief pitcher AND he was a pretty effective starter. That combo makes for a pretty powerful argument. It goes against the Bill James school of relievers, but I'd encourage you to look at Tom Boswell's washington Post piece from yesterday on relievers in the Hall.


Matt Norman - 1/8/2004

Rose was a great all-around baseball player who never had a true position in the field and whose style was much more akin to the dead ball era. That said, on the basis of his playing career he is a first ballot hall of famer, but his banishment from the major leagues should not be lifted just because he is peddling a new book and is now finally willing to admit what everyone has known since 1989. I have no team allegiance but I will say that Cal Ripken and Pete Rose were better ballplayers than Jim Rice. I think the hall's standards have lowered somewhat in recent years because they want to induct at least one person picked by the writers each year. There is no way Eck is a first ballot hofer. He was an above average starter and a great relief pitcher for five years.


Derek Catsam - 1/8/2004

Jessie --
I love your final assertion, which many would believe to be apostasy but which I think has more than an essence of truth. It alomost makes me sick to say it, but Rose is a lot more like Yaz than Cobb. great numbers accumulated as a result of endurance as much as greatness. (But Yaz had 1967, a year which came several years before my birth but is part of my Sox fan DNA.) And as long as we are pissing people off, he is also remarkably akin to Ripken, another overrated fellow. But Ripken at least had those MVP years and he helped save baseball in 1995. So he's got that going for him.
dc


Mitch Glassell - 1/8/2004

It is fine with me to put Pete in the Hall. The day after he dies.


Jesse Lamovsky - 1/8/2004

Mr. Catsam pretty much nailed it.

After all, Buck Weaver still hasn't been reinstated, and never was involved in the Series plot (the details of which are still pretty vague to this day), didn't take a dime, and played his butt off, better than most of the White Sox who weren't involved at all. Joe Jackson hit .375 in the Series he was supposed to be "throwing", was twenty times the player Rose was, and he's still out. Shufflin' Phil Douglas was thrown out of baseball for simply approaching another player about throwing a game. Pete Rose placed bets on the team he was managing, in his own clubhouse. For years! And just because he says in 2003 what everyone already knew in 1989, this means something?

What it means is that, whether Pete Rose is still gambling or not, there's no doubt he's still an incorrigible glory-whore. It's too bad. Eckersley (pitched a no-hitter with the Indians) and Molitor are two deserving entrants, but they're playing second fiddle, and that's a shame. And to a guy who committed what, since 1920, has been the recognized Cardinal Sin of baseball.

Not to dump on him too much, but Pete Rose is not one of the all-time greats, despite his record. He hit singles, lots and lots of singles, for a very long time. He's got the 4,256, yeah, and that's impressive and all, but he played 24 seasons and:

- never had over 82 RBIs in a season
- never hit more than 16 home runs in a season
- never stole more than 20 bases in a season

Hall-of-Famer career? Yes. All-time great hitter? Not hardly. Rose isn't in Tony Gwynn's class, let alone Cobb's.






Oscar Chamberlain - 1/8/2004

Forgive the tangent, but I am more and more leary of the word "forgiveness," particularly when it comes in a headline.

Does foregiveness=forgetting? Never, despite the old bromide, "forgive and forget." However, if that is rephrased as "forgive and let go," it has some wisdom, particularly when it comes to relatives or friends.

Does forgiveness in the case of a felony mean letting the felon out of jail? Sometimes it seems to be the case, but it does not have to be. I can imagine someone forgiving the person who murdered a loved one, and yet not wanting the felon let out to commit a crime again.

In the more banal case of Pete Rose, the question seems to be, has he confessed enough (or grovelled enough) to let him into the Hall of Fame?

That's really not forgiveness in the Christian sense, which is not predicated upon reciprocation but upon a human grace modeled upon God's.

With that in mind, let's drop the "forgiveness" stuff and ask this pair of questions instead:

1. Has Pete Rose reformed?

2. Is that reformation enough?


Derek Catsam - 1/7/2004

I agree that those who try to parallel Rose's indiscretions with those of Ruth, Cobb, and the long list of drinking, wife beating, drug using scofflaws miss the point. Gambling is the big no no. Rule 21 is posted in every major league clubhouse going in and coming out, in English and Spanish, and with translators for speakers of other tongues.
Further, admitting to the issue is not enough. First off, it is and has been clear to anyone who cared about ths issue that the Dowd report was damning, that Giammatti was right, and that they had Rose by the short hairs. He signed the agreement after all. So that he confessed to what all but the blindest already knew to be true is of little moment. What matters should now be how Rose conducts himself. That this happened now when he has a book to peddle is of no surprise to anyone who has watched just how shameless Charlie Hustle (much double meaning, that, huh?) has become. It is baseball's equivalent of the Paris Hilton tape. Were Rose to show contrition, were he to try to take positive steps to rectify his wrongs, that might mean something.
I also think that the writers will not give Rose a free pass -- witness articles by Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe and Thomas Boswell in the Washington Post as just two examples. And the way Rose has acted not only in Cooperstown in past years, but in overshadowing the announcements about Molitor's and Eckersley's election to the Hall does not sit well. In any case, if Rose is exonerated and not Joe Jackson as well, I'd be horrified.
Finally, since this is my only place to vent and we are talking about the Hall of Fame: growing up, Jim Rice was my favorite player, and I am a diehard Red Sox fan, so I am biased as all getout. But he belongs in the Hall of Fame. If Tony Perez belongs, if Don Sutton belongs, if Paul Molitor belongs, Jim Rice belongs. Had any GM in the game called and proposed a trade one on one of Rice for any of those three (and many others in the Hall) during their respecive ten year peaks, the other team would have been laughed off the line. It looks like it may never happen, but put Jim Rice in the Hall!


Harvey Green - 1/7/2004

Unlike the examples cited by John Miller, Rose's actions were directly related to the game itself. Even if he did not bet against his team, the games on which he did not bet could have been clues to other gamblers. Gambling may be an addiction, but there are many other outlets for it than the sport in which one has a real or potential impact on the results of a game. A bet to win on a game can very well have influenced a manager's decision on which pitcher to use in a situation. He knew the rules and he broke them willingly. Baseball writers and other journalists will undoubtedly not quite understand this and will vote to allow him to enter the Hall of Fame regardless of this evidence. The veterans committee knows better than to do this, with the exception of the otherwise admirable Joe Morgan and John Bench.


John Miller - 1/7/2004

Baseball is so hypocritical about the Pete Rose issue.
Dozens of baseball players over the years have been involved in a host of outright criminal activities, from rape, wife-beating, innumerable robberies, wholesale drug abuse, and yet MLB welcomes them back and even gets them into rehab.
The Pete Rose issue is not just about the Hall of Fame.
Maybe all the other past and present criminals who populate MLB should all be barred from the sport completely, not just the Hall of Fame.