Pete Rose is the Michael Jordan of Baseball. In a state known for its basketball legends, this should say something. Rose was an amazing athlete. His athleticism and achievements are renowned. In 1963, Rose made his Major League Baseball début with the Cincinnati Reds. He hit .273, and was named Rookie of the Year. By 1978, he had reached 3,000 hits and by 1980 he had 4,000 hits. In 1982, he broke Ty Cobb’s record and became the all time hit leader. He ended his career with 4,256 hits in 1989. He was an amazing player who played an unequaled five different positions, and led two teams to three World Series titles (Dodd, 1994). Unfortunately, his fall from grace is just as well-known. Accused and eventually convicted of tax evasion, Rose was sentenced to five months in prison, community service, and probation. In an out of court settlement with MLB, Rose accepted a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball. Although it was alleged, but never proven he bet on baseball games, the ban has been upheld in a subsequent vote by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors (Bodley, 1991). Most experts and enthusiasts accept and approve of Rose’s ban from baseball; however, some argue Rose’s achievements should be acknowledged in the Hall of Fame.
The consensus of those in baseball, the fans and those who are experts in the sport, all agree that Rose’s credentials have earned him a place in Cooperstown, New York. All of these experts acknowledge Pete Rose as the trailblazer to today’s baseball athletes. From his amazing skills with the bat to his trademark head first slides, Rose is recognized as the amazing athlete he was by fans and experts alike. It isn’t until we begin to discuss his off-field antics that the equivocation begins. When asked if based on credentials alone, should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame, Dr. Bobby Brown, who sits on the Board of Directors for the Baseball Hall of Fame, replied, “I don't think there's any question about his statistics and what he has done. If you're judging what he did on the field, he deserves to be on the ballot” (Bodley, 1991). However, Dr. Brown and the Board of Directors voted 12 – 0 to exclude any who are permanently banned from baseball from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Early in the investigation of Rose’s gambling and tax problems, he was offered a one year suspension from baseball, which he declined. He eventually settled his case with MLB, and accepted a lifetime banishment with the ability to reapply for reinstatement after one year. Incidentally, none of the fifteen players who have received a lifetime banishment have been able to successfully apply for reinstatement.
Ira Berkow, a sports analyst and author for the New York Times, points out the inconsistency of settling a case for such a harsh penalty when he refused a more lenient punishment earlier. It is Berkow’s claim that Rose’s silence is damning, and questions Rose’s honesty in his claims. Berkow says, “It was a mystery to...