Time for baseball to make its peace with Pete Rose
Posted May 15, 2011
Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame and be done with it.
Rose is in the news again, and once again he's making people cringe. A unique character in a sport which normally embraces its unique characters, "Charlie Hustle" has a knack for rubbing people the wrong way.
This time, Rose was the keynote speaker at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. Why the Ohio Justice & Policy Center would choose a convicted tax evader and admitted gambler as its keynote speaker is beyond me, but that's beside the point.
What is to the point is that Rose says he has given up on ever being inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame. Instead, Pete says he still wants to manage.
To me, the answer for baseball's "Pete Rose question" has always been clear. Put him in the Hall of Fame, but bar him from ever working in a position that directly relates to the on-field outcome of a baseball game.
That rules out managing.
He has admitted to betting on games, one of baseball's Cardinal sins. Putting him in a managerial position - where his decisions would effect outcomes (and bets) is understandably out of the question.
I've ranted about this before, but I still ask the question: Why not give the game's all-time hit leader a plaque in Cooperstown? Then, engrave on the plaque that he bet on the game and was banned from working in baseball.
To me, that sounds like an appropriate compromise. And Rose's HOF plaque would serve as a constant reminder to fans that betting on the game is one of baseball's ultimate "no-no's."
Baseball will have to make similar decisions on many of the stars of the past two decades -- otherwise known as the "Steroid Era." We can't ignore that players cheated, but we also can't ignore that they did some pretty amazing things while cheating -- and fans cheered wildly.
History cannot be erased, but it can be observed. Put these guys in the Hall (Rose, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, etc...) but make sure to point out their mistakes in the process.