The sport of baseball has been a huge part of our country with its heroic figures and classic American stories that reach the homes of millions and epitomize our pastime. It brings families, buddies, and entire pockets of the country together every spring, summer, and fall with camaraderie, and, in some cases, so much pride that tears drop in the aftermath of a below average season. So when someone does something to disrespect this game, it’s extremely looked down upon.
Pete Rose knows this all too well. He pleaded guilty to felony counts in April of 1990 on charges of concealing income on his tax returns in 1985 and 1987, which led to his admittance of betting on baseball as the Cincinnati Reds manager during the ’85, ’86, and ’87 seasons. This included 52 games in ’87 in which he earned a minimum of $10,000 per day according to a 2004 timeline titled “The Rose Scandal” compiled by USA Today.
You could say that he’s gone through a personal hell. For the last 20 years “Charlie Hustle,” as many like to call him, has dealt with nasty criticism, people looking at him like dirt, and the sheer disturbance that he has hurt so many people and the game he loves.
So when the all-time Major League hits leader broke down with an apology during a roast event of himself at a casino in Lawrenceville, In. on Saturday, Sept. 11, you would think such an occurrence would influence Commissioner Bud Selig to reinstate Rose, therefore making him eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Last Monday on ESPN radio’s show Mike and Mike in the Morning, Mike Greenburg shared the exact words that Rose apologized with. In his tearful apology, Rose expressed his remorse for hurting the baseball world.
“I disrespected the game of baseball, and when you do that you disrespect your teammates, the game, and your family,” he said. “I guarantee everybody in this room I will never disrespect you again.”
Rose applied for reinstatement in 1997, but Selig didn’t do anything. In the years since, Selig has had thoughts of taking away Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball, but it is suspected that many important voices in the baseball world seem to be influencing his decision to take any action.
Sure, Rose made a terrible mistake, but I, like many people, believe in forgiveness. What he brought to the game of baseball will be hard to ever repeat. Over his 24-year career in the Major Leagues Rose compiled 4,256 hits, and 1,314 RBI in 3,562 games. He leaped headfirst into bases, sacrificed his body for the team, and played 100% at all times. He played the game the right way.
He spent 18 of his 24 years in Cincinnati, which also happens to be his birthplace. He succeeded for his city and Major League Baseball, he has disappointed his city and Major League Baseball, and he has faced the penalties in disrespecting his city and Major League Baseball.
You have to ask yourself, how much is too much? The man has paid his dues as an outcast of baseball. I think it is evident that people are passionate in the forgiveness of Pete Rose, including former players and people he betrayed 25 years ago, and that he has taken his sentence of exclusion from baseball and the Hall of Fame like a true man without any complaints whatsoever. He deserves to be reinstated.
I tip my hat to you Mr. Rose for being so patient, and coincidentally, so respectful to the game in your absence. It’s time to do the right thing.
Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame.