Skip to comments.The Confessions of Pete Rose
Posted on 01/02/2004 10:20:59 AM PST by presidio9
So word is that Pete Rose finally admits in his new book that he bet on baseball. I guess I am supposed to feel vindicated since he spent the last 14 years calling John Dowd and me names. Mr. Dowd was the baseball lawyer who did the investigation of Mr. Rose and prepared a report we're now told was accurate. Next we're likely to have the spectacle of Mr. Rose being embraced by Bud Selig, the baseball commissioner, and, like the Prodigal Son, ushered to the front row of baseball's most honored citizens.
Pardon me while I rise to urge some caution. Ever since St. Augustine set the bar pretty high, there has been a certain style to confessional tomes. Now we have a mea culpa by Mr. Rose and no saint is he. Augustine, having lived it up, saw the light and wrote with a sense of guilt and regret. He even anguished over having stolen a pear. Early reports are that Mr. Rose confronts his past with very little remorse. Between him and Augustine, there is little doubt whose book will live longer.
Why are we hearing from Mr. Rose now? Credit Mr. Selig for insisting on the admission of betting before letting Mr. Rose in baseball again. It's possible that Mr. Rose wants some of the big money being paid top managers like Joe Torre. But I think there is more at work here. A player has 20 years after he last played to be elected by the baseball writers to the Hall of Fame. After that time has run out, the election can be done only by the living members of the Hall. Thus, Mr. Rose, who last played in 1986, is running out of time. He knows his best shot is with the writers, many of whom share the view that the only conduct that counts is what took place on the field. The Hall of Famers are a cranky lot who last year failed to elect Marvin Miller, who led the players union and whose credentials are solid gold. So Mr. Rose, a careful historian of the game, is playing the odds wisely. Nothing wrong so far.
Now the issue for Mr. Selig is what to do. I suggest that if Mr. Rose is to be reinstated to full rights in baseball, there should be a two-year period of transition. During this time, I would require Mr. Rose to travel the baseball highway to spell out to youngsters and fans why gambling is a threat to the game and why his decisions as manager were corrupted by betting on one game and not another. The sincerity of his redemption can be tested and he will have done some public service to earn his way back. After all, the issue now is not what is best for Mr. Rose, but what is best for baseball.
The two-year delay in reinstatement will give him one shot at being elected by the writers. And then, if he fails that, he may receive the honor via the Hall of Famers themselves. And I can live with that, as I suspect most fans would, though I am not at all certain his election is a sure bet, if I may be excused that term.
I also suggest that Mr. Selig pardon all those whose names are still on the ineligible list, including Max Lanier, banned for jumping to the Mexican League to make more money, a Phillies owner who bet on his team and was tossed out and, of course, Shoeless Joe Jackson, whose participation in the Black Sox betting scandal might in today's jurisprudence be excused by his diminished capacity to have known fully what he was doing.
Perhaps this will be the end of the whole sorry Pete Rose case. As the baseball commmissioner at the time, Bart Giamatti, said when he announced that Mr. Rose had agreed to banishment, baseball has been hurt, badly, by Mr. Rose's actions. Now as we confront his plea for mercy and a second chance, we ought to remind ourselves of Mr. Giamatti's wisdom in identifying the pain inflicted by such a great player. I only wish Mr. Rose had a better sense of why Augustine's "Confessions" strike such a chord with the rest of us sinners.
Pete Rose is however, the man who holds the record, recognized or not, for the most base hits of any man who ever played the game in the major leagues. He was a nasty and furious and devastating opponent as any other Yankee fan can tell you who closely watched him lead the nuking of the sainted Billy Martin's Yankees in the 1976 World Series. No lawyer/commissioner, no secular humanist/commissioner, no pathetic used car salesman/ commissioner can take away from Pete Rose his accomplishments on the field.
Assuming that Pete Rose, retired as a player, acting as a manager, bet on games or worst of all bet against his team when he managed that team. Make his ban permanent. That need not require living the lie of making believe that he did not establish records on the field. Nor did Shoeless Joe Jackson deserve to have his records erased because he knew of the Black Sox fix. Banned? Perhaps. Erased? No. History is history and no commissioner has any business rewriting history.
That being said, Vincent is a class act and speaks only out of his true love for the game. I don't think his suggestions are unreasonable.
The BaseBall Commizaars of the last 15-20 years have all been political wackos of one sort or another. They all have hated Rose for his 'stain' on the fine sport of BaseBall.' BS!
And now I see religion being brought into this. What insanity!
What damn business of anyone is it if Rose, Kuhn, Vincent, Giametti or Bart Damn Simpson is a member of the Roman Catholic Church? We're talking BASEBALL!
I have been a Pete Rose fan since he came to the team (Reds). He was and did exlemplfy EVERYTHING a good BaseBall Player should be.
He would be the first to say that he was not a 'natural' athelete. He just WORKED harder. And his record still stands!
Did he bet? Yes..he probably did. Should he be punished? Yes...And he WAS. He did his time. He didn't bitch. He did the jail time.
Who the hell is hurt if Pete gets into the Hall of Fame? The delicate sensitivities of some people who are 'offended' by anything they can't control...Thats Who!
To those who would eternally condemn Pete for his actions...GROW UP!
Its BaseBall damnit...it ain't no big moral drama.
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