Cooperstown: Sparky Anderson And Pete Rose Speak

In what both men indicated was their first conversation in roughly two decades, Sparky Anderson, manager of the Cincinnati “Big Red Machine” of the 1970’s, and Pete Rose, his most public and most star-crossed player, visited together briefly in Cooperstown on the eve of baseball’s Annual Hall of Fame Inductions.

Surprised customers lining up for another Rose autographing session in one of the village’s many memorabilia shops saw Anderson, his slow purposeful gait forever familiar to veteran fans, amble into the store to re-build something of the bridge Anderson felt Rose had burned during the events that led to his banishment for gambling by the late Commissioner Bart Giamatti in August, 1989.
“You made some mistakes 20 years ago, Pete,” on-lookers heard Anderson say. “But that shouldn’t detract from your contributions to the game.” As shopowners tried to hurriedly shoo the customers out, Anderson was seen to tear up as he explained his wife had been urging him to “go talk to Pete” and he finally felt this was the time. Rose also seemed moist-eyed as he quietly thanked his former manager.
Although time has blunted its impact, Anderson took one of the most principled stances in baseball’s long history when, after the 1994 strike, he said he would not manage a 1995 Detroit Tigers team made up of replacement players. He was initially granted a leave of absence, then returned after the owners lost their court bid to impose new work rules on the players and dismissed the replacements. But after the ’95 season, Anderson resigned, never to again manage in the big leagues. There seems little to indicate Anderson was forgiving Rose his transgressions against the game, but those who saw it said it was no challenge to discern that the moment of contact was deeply moving to both men.
The events unfolded even as baseball celebrated the official Hall of Fame dinner honoring Sunday’s inductees, and the subsequent “dessert reception” inside the Hall itself, complete with red-carpet introductions and a public address system straight out of a Hollywood premiere from the 1930’s.
One image from the off-the-record proceedings merits inclusion, and stays within the rules (it was fully covered by the Hall’s official on-the-record photographer): That is indeed Rickey Henderson posing not by his plaque, but by where, within hours, his plaque will be, next to Jim Rice and Joe Gordon, in the class of 2009:


  1. titopapo

    It is long overdue the recognition of Pete Rose. Personally and don’t have sympaty for him as a person because I find him to arrogant. But as a Baseball player I think, and I’m sure, to me ,he is the best baseball player of all times; bigger than Babe Ruth, Lou Ghery, Willie Mays, Mikey Mantle and much much others. Mr. Giamatti the commisioner banning Pete Rose made big mistake and Mayor League Baseball continue making mistakes naming commissioners people don’t know nothing about baseball and never was a player, coach, manager, umnpire owner or any other position. The best example IS THE ACTUAL COMMISIONER MAKING MILLIONS EVERY YEAR and allowing politicians putting their noses in sports. If the politician can,t solve their problems why we need their opinions or decisions in sports. Bur well, I hope Pete Rose will be in the Hall very soon, otherwise at least for me that will be an absolete institution and better close doors.


    If Pete Rose is reinstated by Bud Selig, which he must be in order to be eligible, he would be subject to the voting criteria set-up by the Baseball Writers of America which state: Voting shall be based on player’s record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to team. Does Pete Rose meet all those criteria? What to you think? I think not.

  3. sportspoliticsstuff


    . . . . But just as I turned on the ignition, I heard Ken the dispatcher’s plaint over the two-way radio: “Please,” he begged, “Please, I need a cab in the vicinity of Fenway Park right now.” I was going to ignore him since I figured the walk-up I’d get in 30 seconds would be easier, but I also know that when you do the boss a favor, when you need a favor you’re more likely to get it. “I NEED a cab around Fenway NOW,” he sobbed.

    “I’m on the cab stand at Fenway,” I radioed back.

    “Jack!” he snapped, “Where have you been? I’ve been calling for five minutes!”

    “Well, I was at the game and just this second started the cab,” I sheepishly excused.

    “Oh. Yeah. Well,” he sighed in relief, tactfully ignoring the fact that I had just admitted I had abandoned my cab unattended for three hours. “Can you get to the Fenway Motel [now the Howard Johnson Boston Fenway Park] pronto?”

    I looked over my shoulder and saw I could back up through empty parking spaces to Jersey Street [now Yawkey Way] without making a U-turn into the Brookline Ave gridlock and reported “Yup. A block down Jersey Street, through the back parking lot, I’m there. Two minutes.”

    “Swing around to the front entrance and pick up three men and let me know when you got ’em,” he ordered. . . .


    Jim Rice: The Cab, The Car, The Cop and Cooperstown

  4. 1948braves

    Of all the rules in baseball, gambling is one of the biggest no-no’s. You simply cannot bet on games. History has taught us that the consequences of doing so are huge.

    “I would rather beat the Yankees regularly than pitch a no-hit game.” Bob Feller

  5. matttan7

    I’d like to see Pete Rose go to the Hall of Fame despite the gambling issues, he did more good than bad. It’s fun to see Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson go the Hall of Fame this year, Rice’s selection is overdue, in my opinion, and Henderson’s well deserving of his selection, with the history of his stolen bases.

    Matthew Tang

  6. bosquebill

    I’m ready to, if not forgive, at least overlook Pete’s gambling and lying and reinstate his eligibility for the Hall of Fame. I’d like to see him in the HOF – good grief, just look at his record, it is truly amazing! It is a baseball HOF, not Santa’s list of who’s been good or nice. In this day and age of (alleged) performance enhancing drug use, betting on one’s team, and even lying about it, doesn’t seem so bad.

    Congrats to Rickey, heck of a ball player.

    Thanks, Keith, for your posts about some of the parts of Cooperstown not normally seen by us regular folks.


    Why are all baseball people (mainly commishioners) so unwilling to overturn Giamatti’s ruling because he is dead? There are much worse PEOPLE in the Hall of Fame. Last I checked its a Baseball Hall of Fame where admission is based on quality of play and benchmark stastics. For crying out loud Ty Cobb was one the WORST PEOPLE ever to play the game. He admitted to murdering a man and was the epitome of a biggot. His talent was undenyable and if he has a place in the hall then why not Rose? Tris Speaker and Rogers Horsby were members of the KKK. Both of them are in. See where I’m going with this? Rose deserves to have a bust among the all time greats. Plain and simple. Congrats to Rickey and Jim Rice (LOOOONG OVERDUE). Rickey = Top 10 All Time Baseball Player and if you don’t believe me just ask him 😉

  8. americansoldier

    I NEVER thought I’d agree with you on anything. I’ll kindly say that we’ll agree to disagree from a political view – understatement.

    Still, as a long-suffering – and disappointed – Pete Rose fan, this story is special. I would LOVE to see Mr. Rose allowed back into MLB, and have the chance to be inducted in the HOF. Still, I NEVER want to see Charlie Hustle/The Hit King with a chance to manage a ballteam again – he destroyed that trust. Sorry, Pete…

    I still guess that Mr. Rose, if allowed, might be inducted in the Baseball HOF when he has one foot in the grave, or Posthumously. There is NO way that the keepers of MLB’s flame want Mr. Rose to be around to profit or enjoy his HOF status very long. Still, with Pete Rose dead or near dying, MLB can come across as compassionate, caring, and they remain faithful to the God-like homage they paid long ago to the late MLB Commissioner Giamatti.

    Unfortunately, Pete Rose gave MLB all the ammo they needed more than 20 years ago.

  9. thomason paine

    Thanks Keith……I miss the days when Baseball players had the spirit of the game rushing through their veins……They would have played for nothing. (and often times did!)
    These days, it is hard for me to get excited about any particular team winning or losing…..I watch, because I love the game SO much, I can’t help myself. Thanks for being brave and bold and telling it like it is! Mens Designer Clothing

  10. Tricky Dick

    Like Steve Garvey stated ; “Pete Rose is the epitome of Mr. Baseball Legends” ! His punishment should have been ” banned from coaching..not banned from recognition of his accomplisments as a player. His many records of athletic accomplishment and recognition of the man while alive is long overdue . Baseball comissioners failure to step up to the plate and grant that recognition seems to be the only problem lingering in the hearts and minds of baseball fans everywhere. Cast the politics aside , Pete Rose is a legend because he always played to win . Making a living around a ” hardball” few men have succeeded , yet Charlie Hustle made it look easy ; now reward the man and legend!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s