As the murkiness of the steroids era has officially made the voting process for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame even uglier and more complicated than it was in the past, one question has quietly emerged:
What about Pete Rose?
Rose, of course, was issued a lifetime ban for betting on baseball. The late Bart Giamatti wrote the following when he handed down that decision:
“One of the game’s greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game , and he must now live with the consequences of those acts…”
Now we are faced with an entire generation of players and the question of what to do with their Hall of Fame candidacy after they collectively ‘stained’ the game. Depending on your perspective, that at least raises the question of whether Rose’s ban should be lifted and his career acknowledged, stain and all.
Rose’s baseball card entitles him to a plaque in Cooperstown, NY; nobody can fairly dispute that. But he broke baseball law with full understanding that if caught, the consequences would be severe.
I still admire Rose’s style of play and what he accomplished between the lines with every iota of my soul. I also have patience and understanding for him as a human being. We all have rooms in our homes that could benefit from a good spring-cleaning.
Rose’s status remains firmly on the fringe of things. It is interesting to note how one former player feels about Rose in the fluid context of 21st century Hall of Fame voting.