Ball Rolling Toward Rose Eligibility

And the clues continue to mount.

The teary-eyed communion between Sparky Anderson and Pete Rose at a baseball memorabilia shop here in Cooperstown on Saturday wasn’t the only hint over induction weekend that the ice may be breaking around Rose’s 20 years in suspended animation – and eligibility for, if not necessarily election to, the Hall, might be in the offing.
The impeccable Bill Madden reports in today’s New York Daily News that Hank Aaron held a “seemingly impromptu” gaggle with a handful of reporters on Saturday during which he not only endorsed an asterisk for steroid users who reach Cooperstown, but brought Rose up himself and said “I would like to see Pete in. He belongs there.”
On Saturday night I reported that Rose’s old Cincinnati manager stunned onlookers in the card shop in which Rose spends most of induction weekend, by bounding through its doors to have a brief conversation with him. Saying he had been convinced of the rightness of the timing by his wife, Anderson told Rose: “You made some mistakes 20 years ago, Pete, but that shouldn’t detract from your contributions to the game.”

I had the briefest of conversations with Rose yesterday. He confirmed the Anderson visit, said it had been “a long time” since they had last talked (although he wasn’t certain it was the full two decades). Pete Rose is never tight-lipped about his prospects for reinstatement, but he was clearly being circumspect. “Sparky was here. Morgan was here. Perez was here. Schmidt was here.” He smiled, then answered my question about the ultimate outcome of his saga. “I think it’ll be all right.”

With the advent of increased Hall of Famer influence on the Hall of Fame itself, Joe Morgan in particular has grown powerful within the Cooperstown infrastructure. A Morgan greeting to Rose wouldn’t mean much. A Morgan word to Bud Selig about ‘time served’ might be – and Madden reports at least one other Hall of Famer is arguing such a line.

I was a steadfast opponent of Rose’s reinstatement for all of his first fifteen years of banishment. My belief was, even if he bet only on the Reds to win, this constituted a kind of passive/aggressive form of game-fixing: his use of players, especially his best relief pitchers, might be much more aggressive in games on which he had a wager, than those he did not. But the light bulb has slowly flickered on above Pete’s head, he has lowered the volume on his woe-is-me-ism, and most importantly, his crimes have been contextualized by the PED-era. There is no form of game-fixing more subtle nor more insidious than juicing. Not even gambling.

The 20th Anniversary of his banishment is a month away: August 24th. It has served its purpose. Rose will never get a significant job in the game; if necessary he can be statutorily prevented from getting one. Who knows? A reinstated Rose might even be a terrific in-person warning to minor league players and young big leaguers he might serve as a hitting coach, about the consequences of breaking the key rules – the ones about gambling, and the ones about performance-enhancers.

It’s time.



    It’s been 20 years?! Wow, time does fly. I concur that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. There is sufficient evidence that one need not be an outstanding human being to get into a Hall of Fame of any sort – including Cooperstown. Pete Rose is the all-time hitting leader; he should be there. What he did to “earn” his banishment seems almost quaint now. Besides, MLB has never been too ashamed to trot Pete Rose in front of the fans if his presence would be to the advantage to MLB coffers.


    OOPS! Forgot something…I’m glad you’re enjoying your time off; it is much deserved! One of these years, I’ll get out to Cooperstown.

  3. 1rosefan

    I think Marty Brenneman put it best…..”Yes, by God Pete Edward Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame

  4. bigredone

    Reinstate Pete Rose!

    I wholeheartedly agree the steroid era has re-framed Rose’s crimes. Juicing up has definitely changed records and outcomes of games because not everyone was using. Pete gambling on the Reds to win could not have changed outcomes. It would be a stretch to connect the two. One also has to consider if Baseball is so opposed to gambling, then why so many Indian gaming adverstisements in the stadiums? A perfect hypocritical stance by baseball so long as those adverstisments hang in plain sight for everyone to see. Also, when Pete signed this supposed iron clan lifetime ban, there was a provision that he could apply for reinstatement after 1 year, so even baseball back then was allowing for the possibility of reinstatement. When Pete signed the agreement to the ban, he was under the understanding he was still eligible for the Hall of Fame and he was. That is until the Hall of Fame committee pulled the rug from under Rose and changed the rules to make him ineligible. So one could argue changing the Hall of Fame rules essentially would make the original agreement null and void.

  5. beearl

    “There is no form of game-fixing more subtle nor more insidious than juicing. Not even gambling.”

    You will never convince me of that argument.

    In fact, the argument that gambling is more insidious is written just a few lines earlier in the same paragraph. When a manager might be thinking about his payday rather than the safety and protection of his players…well, there is almost nothing worse than that when it comes to game manipulation.

    Even if Rose is telling the truth that he only bet on the Reds to win. A fact the man lied about for so many years that I find it difficult to believe anything he says.

    Say what you will about the juicers, but they were all trying to be the best that they could possibly be. Regardless of whether or not it was legal or banned at the time. Or if their use of these drugs would wind up hurting them later on in life. Absolutely wrong, but no way is it as evil as gambling on the game. Especially in the case of the manager.

  6. soydevon

    I don’t think gambling is in any way a good thing, but I’ve always felt that there is a huge difference between betting against your team and betting for it. I hope Pete gets in. Besides, is there any evidence he gambled in his playing days? I can’t recall. Maybe they should let him become eligible as a player but not as a manager?

    And….can you imagine the media blitz on Cooperstown THAT day in July? Wow.



    “Say what you will about the juicers, but they were all trying to be the best that they could possibly be.”

    What the…?

    No, they were/are trying to get an edge, by any means necessary, whether ethical or not, whether legal or not. I agree totally with the rest of your argument, but that statement about made my head explode.

    Also, one can argue that specific drugs weren’t EXPLICITLY banned, but that’s not the case with the gambling: it’s been clearly illegal forever.

    I’m not sure I get this relativism…”gambling isn’t as bad as drug cheating, so let’s rethink this.” OK, well, drug cheating isn’t as bad as oh, say, putting out a hit on an opposing pitcher, or some other offense that may not even have been devised yet, so in a few years will that be OK, too?

    Fine, let him be eligible and let’s hope to God he’s blocked on votes; make it clear that it’s values speaking and not technicalities.

  8. butlerkentcolletti

    I have nothing against Pete Rose. It saddens me that he is not eligible for the Hall Of Fame. I look at the numbers he put up as a player and I get goose bumps and a tightness in my throat. This man SHOULD be in the Hall of Fame. Absolutely no doubt about it. He was the type of player that represents what the Hall means. He played the game hard, for a long time, and that is something we will never forget. At least those of us fortunate enough to have watched him play.

    Now it looks like his eligibility might get reinstated. That’s great! But becoming eligible and getting voted in are two different things, ask Jim Rice.

    The people that do the voting on who gets into the Hall should probably ask themselves this:

    “What exactly is Pete Rose MORE famous for? His play on the field, or the fact he was banished for gambling?”

    It probably depends which generation of baseball you grew up watching. Hopefully the voting panel for the Hall has a good mixture of people that learned to appreciate Rose for his play on the field and modern-day people that are jaded against the “steroids era” and want to keep cheaters out of the hall.

    Maybe what the proponents of a Pete Rose reinstatement should hope for is a media campaign educating younger fans (and HOF voters) on the playing career of Pete Rose, one of the greatest PLAYERS that ever played the game.


    PEDs, as I understand it, are controlled substances and obtained illegally by the users in most, if not all cases. Who gets a longer prison sentence in a court of law, illegal drug users or gamblers?

    Illegal substances have always been against the laws of the United States of America whether MLB cares to ban them or not. I would assume that MLB is required to be accountable to the laws of the country in which it operates.

    You argument about “… a manager might be thinking about his payday rather than the safety and protection of his players…” can be held against any manager/coach that puts his players in harms way. How many coaches throughout the years in any sport have urged/coerced a player to play through any injury or take a shot so they can play without feeling the pain? They have been many cases were they do it for their ego or their next contract.

    Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, no doubt in my mind. I believe that he did bet on baseball and he should never have any job within the game. He has made many mistakes in the years since he accepted the agreement with MLB, but the game deserves to have his accomplishments in the Hall.


    I have no problem with Rose going into the Hall of Fame…the year after they admit Joe Jackson.


    I have no problem with Rose going into the Hall of Fame….the year after they admit Joe Jackson.



    When this arrogant, unrepentant jerk is admitted, we should take all the rules baseball has and BURN them, because none of them will have any relevance anymore. No gambling on the game is on the clubhouse wall at every level or at least it used to be. Why change it for Pete? Did he cure cancer? Aids? Invent cold fusion that worked?


    I could be corrected on this, and if I’m wrong I apologize in advance: I believe the ACCOMPLISHMENTS are noted in the Hall. It’s a question of him getting a plaque with his name on it.

    And it’s true that there are some scum-of-the-earth people in the Hall, but if the criteria used is strictly one of upholding the tenets of the game, it still looks like a fail.


    People don’t realize he was betting on his team to win every night. He hurt himself not the game. Players that have used steroids have hurt the game much more than Rose ever did. Rose should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago.

  15. russ4192

    Nice post Keith. I am a life-long Pete Rose fan who felt a bit betrayed when he admitted to gambling. I am fully behind his reinstatement. I have a self-imposed boycott of the Hall of Fame, but would love to attend Pete’s induction ceremony.Russ


    I was always torn about the Pete Rose saga. It is definitely time for baseball to re-instate Pete. Time heals all wounds
    and the timing would be monumental. There are two major-leaguers that also need induction. One is the controversial Curt Flood and most of all Maury Wills. Flood’s
    numbers merit consideration along with the Jackie Robinesque
    stance he took that has changed the fabric of baseball forever.
    The Maury Wills situation is mind-blowing. A guy who hit for average(280 lifetime) broke the stolen base record and change
    baseball with the stolen base. He was monumental in the three world series championships and a pretty decent fielder
    and class act.


    If all of these guys who have been testing positive for Steroids (A-Rod, I’m looking at you) and drugs that mask Steroids (Manny, I’m looking at you) are still playing, then there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever why Pete Rose shouldn’t be welcomed back into baseball and made elgible for the Hall of Fame.

  18. pizzmoe

    Maybe I’ve never looked at most baseball players as the great pillars of our society, but I have always felt the Pete Rose should have been inducted in the HoF. Until there is a category for personality and a swimsuit competition, the players get in because of their on the field accomplishments, and if anyone should be in based on that, it’s Pete.


    There is one rule in baseball…you cannot bet on baseball games. Period.

    There is no comparing apples to oranges in terms of gambling vs. steroids or anything else. Want to place an asterisk next to the name of every player who used steroids? Fine. But that has nothing to do with Rose and his issue.

    How many thousands of times did Pete Rose walk into a major league clubhouse and see the sign about the illegality of gambling on baseball games…and then choose to ignore it?

    Why did it take Rose so many years to finally admit to Mr. Selig that he did, indeed, bet on major league baseball games? And why did he confess? So that his chances of making the hall of fame might increase?

    Keith, it is lovely to think Rose may use a newfound re-instatement to make a positive difference in the lives of major or minor league players in discussing the hazards of gambling. But tell me, why hasn’t he been doing that for 20 years? The fact he is not allowed in a major league clubhouse has not prevented him from speaking to all sorts of people about all sorts of other topics.

  20. redfanrod

    Look at what Pete Rose brought to the game as a player: hustle, guts, durability and hit after hit after hit. I don’t like to mix juicing with gambling issues. I just feel that, as a player, Pete made the right choices (within reason) for 20+ years, resulting in incredible accomplishments as one of the most winning ballplayers in league history. That, in itself, merits re-instatement/Hall of Fame consideration. As for his future employment in the game, that’s questionable. Come on, Selig, give the guy the Hall before he dies.


    I too think that Pete Rose has ‘done his time’ and deserves entry into the Hall of Fame based on his actions as a player. There would be a huge astrisk in the hall without him.
    While I don’t condone his actions pertaining to betting on baseball, nor his stubborness to admit what most knew. I do think the time has come to forgive and welcome him to the Hall of Fame.


    Pete Rose in the Hall…Never: Stats alone should not be entitlement into the Hall. It’s not an unwritten rule, “No Gambling on Baseball.” it’s written everywhere in the Game. Additionally, was I alone in being irked everytime Charlie Hustle bounced the ball on the turf after recording the 3rd out of an inning. Doesn’t anyone remember Mr. Hustle bowling over Ray Fosse over to end an All Star game? Remember that was when the All Star game “Really Didn’t Count”. He was simply put a Major Leaguer who played like a bush leaguer. I believe it was Jim Brown who said, “Act like you’ve been there before.” AKA respect the game. Rose didn’t…..and because of that doesn’t deserve the Honor.


    jwpalochak, I could’nt disagree with you more. When Rose was in the All-Star games they did mean something to the players. The players took it personal who won those games. What’s wrong with the guy hustling and bowling the guy over to score? It’s not in the rulebooks that you can’t do that. Secondly, yes he bet on the game of baseball…THAT WAS WRONG! Manny and A-Rod admitted to doing steroids..well Manny was caught. Manny gets his little 50 game suspension and is welcomed back with open arms…HE CHEATED THE GAME!!!!!! A-Rod would have never admitted to doing steroids unless he was caught and we all know that..HE CHEATED THE GAME!!!! he is still playing..And by the way, who cares if he bounced the ball on field after the third out? you must be annoyed by everty ball players little habits in the game..Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, plain and simple!!


    Pete Rose in the Hall…Never: It’s not an entitlement of stats alone to be admitted to the Hall. Nor is it an unwritten rule,”No Gambling on Baseball”, it’s written everwhere in the Game. Additionally was I the only one irked everytime Charlie Hustle bounced the ball on the turf after recording the 3rd out of an inning? Doesn’t anyone remember when Charlie Hustle bowled over Ray Fossee to end an All Star game when “It Really Didn’t Count”? I believe it was Jim Brown who said, “Act like you’ve been there before.” AKA respect the Game. Rose was nothing more than a Major Leaguer who played like a Bush Leaguer. He refused to respect the Game. The Hall…are you serious?

  25. plum01

    I think Pete Rose is a lousy excuse for a human being. He also was one heck of a ballplayer. I think he should be put into the hall of fame… posthumously. This would be mlb’s ultimate slap in his face.


    Like you, my hard line against Pete has softened as the PED’s issue has unfolded.

    If you can assure me that not one single PED guilty player gets in the Hall, then fine, no Pete either. But somehow I don’t think that kind of purity is going to be maintained.


    Please also take up the fight also for MARVIN MILLER
    It is a disgrace for a tool like Kuhn to even be in alongside of Marvin let alone inducted before him. Next they will put “W” in as an executive. Keith PLEASE help right this injustice.

    P.S. Take a few more days off I love Lawrence O’Donnell coming in out of the pin.


    Pete Rose does not belong in the Hall of Fame. He broke the one rule. He gambled on the outcome of games played by a team he was managing. That’s it and that’s all. He denied it until he had a book to sell. He is an arrogant, disagreeable man. He acted like a victim in this situation. Baseball is well rid of him. I don’t care if Sparky Anderson bends down and kisses Rose’s *** in Macy’s window. Rose broke the rules for his own financial gain.

    Not on my watch. Not in my lifetime. Not on this planet.

  29. booklady

    Rose’s crime was not relative to anyone else’s and it has nothing to do with cheating, throwing spitballs, juicing, beating your wife or being a bigot. It’s got nothing to do with time, and it therefore cannot be mitigated with the passage of time.

    It is so simple, and so frustrating that people continue to discuss and debate this.

    The rule says, No gambling on baseball. Pete gambled on baseball.

    Does mlb’s rule mean what it says, or not? If it only means, don’t gamble or baseball or you’ll be banned for 20 years, they let Pete back in. But it doesn’t say that.

    He didn’t accidentally break the rule. He mocked the game. He knew what he was doing. He didn’t care. Why should anyone else care now that’s he’s paying the price?

    Rose’s accomplishments are in the museum. He doesn’t deserve to be in the Hall.

  30. booklady

    misspriss, have you been to the Hall of Fame and Museum? Those thousands of little boys you worry about have every opportunity to lean about Pete Rose’s individual baseball accomplishments there in the Museum. His name and stats are up in many places.


    I’m from Philly. The ban on Rose’s participation in anything baseball has spoiled several of our anniversary celebrations, as Rose was the catalyst for winning the 1980 World Series. There was a glaring absence that made our hearts grow fonder for his participation. I can’t wait ’til he’s reinstated! Surely, if the drug abuse vice can be forgiven by Selig, gambling can, too.


    Who is punished more with Pete Rose being banned from the Baseball Hall of Fame? Is it Pete Rose or is it the thousands of little boys who attend the Hall of Fame each year who do not have the opportunity to witness and learn about the individual baseball accomplishments of the Great Pete Rose (without steroids, no less!) Yes, he screwed up but there is a big hole in the Hall of Fame and it’s time it is complete.


    Kevin, I unfortunately must have misread the title of the article or the crux of it’s discussion. I believe the main topic to be discussed was whether or not Pete Rose should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Maybe when their time comes, and it will: Manny, A-Rod, Pete and let’s not forget the Rocket will all make it into Baseball’s Hall of Shame…. Oops, they’ve already made it there.

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s