Pete Rose’s quest for the Hall of Fame


In an exhibition game the other day, the Dodgers played the Cincinnati Reds at Camelback Ranch. During the game, Los Angeles broadcaster Charley Steiner lamented on Reds greats of the past. Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench and Barry Larkin are names that are forever linked with the Reds. Left out of the conversation was Pete Rose. “Charlie Hustle,” as he was better known as, played from 1963 to 1986. As the all-time hits leader, Rose was a formidable opponent winning three World Series rings, three batting titles and an MVP Award. After years of denying his gambling on baseball, Rose voluntarily agreed to permanently be placed on baseball’s ineligible list.

It has been twenty-one years since Rose said goodbye to baseball. In his book My Prison Without Bars, Rose discloses his addiction to gambling and his never-ending quest to win. “Winning is fun” he writes, however his hunger to win came at a great cost. To date, no one has ever been reinstated by Major League Baseball for gambling. Still, Rose knows this fact and hopes he will be the exception to the rule.

In spite of his past transgressions, Rose is still considered one of the best to ever played the game. His ferociousness on the field is what many fans remember and recognize as a compelling argument for reinstatement.

“He should be acknowledged for his accomplishments,” says fan Brian Brown. “What he did off the field should not tarnish his legacy.”

While fans like Brown feel Rose should receive his due accolades, others like ThreeDog on Major League Baseball’s Message Board agree with this user who writes “the rule is in place for a reason and reinstatement undermines that reason. Rose knew the risk when he bet on his own team and now should have to live and die with the consequences.”

Part of Rose’s risk was foregoing a formal apology for a tell-all book. In it, he delves into the genesis of his addiction to winning explaining “I had huge appetites and I was always hungry. It wasn’t that I was bored with the challenges of managing the Reds — I just didn’t want the challenges to end!”

In light of Rose’s candid book, his quest for reinstatement has yet to gain traction. Rose believes in winning. Nevertheless, his desire to win seems to be a justification for his past discretions. Perhaps, one day, he will triumph and get into the Hall of Fame. For now, his lack of contrite admission still leads to an omission from the annals of the game.

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  1. Amen!  Probably, as part of the agreement Rose signed, Pete’s betting during his days as a player (and, possibly, against the Reds) would never be disclosed.

    Selfish, dumb, overly macho…and broke baseball’s one rule that’s inviolate.  You don’t bet on games.  And he knew it.  Thought he was bigger than the game.  He wasn’t.  Lied about it for years.  Just as the steroid users won’t be allowed in the Hall, neither should someone who bet on games.  Ever.

  2. Rose was a great hitter, a ferocious competitor and a whiny punk!

    Picking a fight with the Mets’ smaller Bud Harrelson, running over a defenseless Ray Fosse in an exhibition game, and sniveling the next day that junk ball pitcher Gene Garber “wouldn’t challenge me with a fastball” in the final three at bats which broke his 44-game hitting streak.

    Garber didn’t have a fast ball to throw, and did his job, getting Rose out three times to help preserve the win for the Braves. 

    He bet games he played in and managed… a Lifetime ban is fully warranted, as well as exclusion from the Hall of Fame. 

  3. Rose was a great hitter, a ferocious competitor and a whiny punk!

    Picking a fight with the Mets’ smaller Bud Harrelson, running over a defenseless Ray Fosse in an exhibition game, and sniveling the next day that junk ball pitcher Gene Garber “wouldn’t challenge me with a fastball” in the final three at bats which broke his 44-game hitting streak.

    Garber didn’t have a fast ball to throw, and did his job, getting Rose out three times to help preserve the win for the Braves. 

    He bet games he played in and managed… a Lifetime ban is fully warranted, as well as exclusion from the Hall of Fame. 

  4. First of all, Rose didn’t go to jail because he bet on baseball. He went to jail because of tax issues.

    Second, Rose bet on games he managed. If that isn’t a cardinal sin in baseball I don’t know what is.

    Although not in the HOF it isn’t like he has been forgotten. His records still stand. Some like to compare him to Shoeless Joe and in my book there is no comparison. Joe Jackson was caught up in a conspiracy. Pete Rose was a single offender in a position of great power that put the careers of several — and the business of baseball — at risk. Baseball was right to ban him.

    And the would be right to stick him in the HOF at some point and let him live out his days limited to old timer events, broadcasting and public relations.

    If you read his books you can see easily that he has no soul. There isn’t much behind his confessions and Rose remains a person who is better to watch on the field with his fierce competitiveness than being allowed to open his mouth or be put into a position of authority with any team.

  5. It’s hard to feel sorry for Pete Rose given his lack of remorse. He practically demands that he be reinstated. On the other hand did he do more to sully the game than some of the greats during the steroid era? Future Hall-of-Famers Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez, Roger Clemens, etc., have done far more damage to the game of baseball. How many of those guys are contrite?

  6. It isn’t like he’s not recognized. He’s the all time hits leader, he’s got rings and MVP’s and All Star appearences. The only thing really taken from him is HOF and future MLB employment. It’s just hard to feel bad for him. It isn’t like he’s broke and homeless. Betting on baseball while you managed is a bad idea and he’s paying for it. Whether he should be in or not, he will never get in with Selig around.

  7. As much as I hated Rose as a player — his win-at-all-costs attitude was grating — I respected him tremendously. What is unfortunate about his situation is younger generations who never saw him play, only hear about the gambling. Watching Charlie Hustle play was and experience you never forget. There has been no one like him in the game since. He deserves to be in the HOF.

  8. Pete Rose was GREAT at the game AND should be recognized for it. He didn’t shoot ‘roids to get those records, did he? So he gambled. At least he wasn’t fixing the games cuz that would be different.

  9. So Pete Rose had to go to jail for gambling on…baseball (???)–something that probably a LOT of OTHERS in high-profile sport positions do (dugh, gambling!)–YET, the Goldman Sachs bankers who looted and destroyed our economy (which triggered the 2007 econominc crisis) by GAMBLING with CDO’s (Collateralized Debt Obligations) get billions in BONUSES–thanks to the guy without a birth certificate in the WH who said BEFORE he got “elected” that bankers WOULD NOT influence him during his “presidency.”

    Something is WRONG here, folks.

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