On Monday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred decided to uphold Pete Rose’s banishment from Major League Baseball. Rose has been banned from the league since 1989 due to gambling on MLB games while still playing and managing. In recent years, the argument to reinstate Rose has gained steam, leading to Rose formally appealing his suspension to the new baseball commissioner.
Manfred cited Rose’s lack of effort to get away from gambling as one of the main reasons for upholding his ban. He currently still (legally) bets on games and lives in Las Vegas where he signs autographs for money to maintain an income.
Due to Manfred’s decision, Rose will remain on the active list of players banned from Major League Baseball, a list that the Baseball Hall of Fame also recognizes.
What some do not realize is that the Baseball Hall of Fame has a Board of Directors who can determine who is and is not eligible for the Hall of Fame regardless of a player’s affiliation with Major League Baseball. Therefore, the Board of Directors has the right to allow Rose eligibility for the Hall of Fame. However, in 1991 the Board voted to ban anyone on MLB’s permanently ineligible list from being allowed to appear on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. As long as Rose is banned from the Major Leagues, he will remain banned from the Hall of Fame barring a rule change.
While I am not about to defend Rose’s actions that led to his punishment, I will argue that he should be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Here’s why.
We are currently seeing players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, and multiple others appear on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. Some of these players, like Clemens, Palmerio, and McGwire have either admitted to or were caught using performance enhancing drugs, while the others remain suspect. These guys CHEATED to become better at baseball, but are still eligible for the Hall of Fame and continue to receive votes.
Pete Rose never took PED’s or cheated to become a better baseball player. He simply worked as hard as anyone and hustled as much as anyone to be the best player he could be. He finished his career as the all time hits leader in MLB history.
Betting on games that you play in or manage is wrong in every aspect and deserves severe punishment. However, when you look at the big picture and compare what Rose did to what guys like Clemens, Palmeiro and McGwire did, how can those guys remain eligible for Hall of Fame status and Rose cannot? They flat out cheated their way through baseball by using drugs that directly affected their performance on the field. Rose did not do anything close to that.
The Baseball Hall of Fame Board of Directors has the ability to give Pete Rose the chance to get voted into the HOF. It’s time that they allow baseball’s all time hits leader and one of the greatest players ever the chance to finally end up where he belongs simply for what he did on the field every game. As long as Pete Rose is left out of the Hall of Fame and PED users remain eligible for it, the Hall is not a legitimate club as far as I am concerned.