Cleat Geeks

Pete Rose Should be in the “Hall” not the Dugout

RoseAllStarGame2I woke up this morning to Pete Rose trending on Twitter. I knew what it was, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had finally made his decision. I have several notifications and direct messages since I went to bed the night before, but I had to direct the mouse to trending topics and click on Pete Rose before I did anything else this morning. Was the greatest baseball player ever, going to be allowed back in baseball?

The answer from the commissioners office was no. But, it was no to reinstatement. As much as I love Pete Rose, and still think he is the greatest player to walk between the white lines, if I was the commissioner of baseball I would not allow Pete Rose back into baseball either. I understand it is a risk that baseball does not want to take. I would not take it either.

But I want to give you an excerpt from today’s official decision from the commissioner’s statement page 4 paragraph 2.

“With this background in mind, let me clarify the precise nature of the issue before me. Under the major League Constitution, my only concern has to be the protection of the integrity of play on the field through appropriate enforcement of Major League Rules. It is not part of my authority or responsibility here to make any determination concerning Mr. Rose’s eligibility as a candidate for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, in my view, the considerations that should drive a decision on whether an individual should be allowed to work in baseball are not the same as those that should drive a decision on Hall of Fame eligibility.”

RoseandCastelliniIn a statement, Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini said, “The Commissioner called me this morning prior to the announcement. We respect his decision on the matter of Pete Rose and are grateful for his diligence and the amount of time he spent on the matter. We also appreciate that the Commissioner stated that Hall of Fame consideration is a separate issue and we and the fans think he deserves that opportunity. We are pleased that we have had and will continue to have opportunities to commemorate Pete’s remarkable on-field accomplishments. Any future plans to celebrate Pete’s career with the Reds first will be discussed with the Commissioner and then will be communicated publicly at the appropriate time.”

On November 11, 1986, Rose was dropped from the Reds’ 40-man roster to make room for pitcher Pat Pacillo, and he unofficially retired as a player. On August 24, 1989, Rose voluntarily accepted a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list. Rose accepted that there was a factual reason for the ban; in return, Major League Baseball agreed to make no formal finding with regard to the gambling allegations.

BartGiamattiAccording to baseball’s rules, Rose could apply for reinstatement in one year. But Bart Giamatti said, “There is absolutely no deal for reinstatement. That is exactly what we did not agree to in terms of a fixed number of years.” So after Pete Rose agreed and signed a document, the then baseball commissioner contradicted the agreement. But, no one sees anything wrong with that. There was also no mention of the fact that because Pete Rose excepted this ban, that he was not eligible for inclusion on the Hall of Fame ballot. That meant, that he was eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in November of 1991, 5 years after his retirement and approximately 2 years after he excepted his lifetime ban.

If you want to debate this topic with me live on my weekly MLB podcast, go here. I will be debating this topic for 1 hour on Tuesday evening at a special time of 9:00pm EST and 7:00pm on the west coast.

On February 4, 1991, the Hall of Fame voted formally to exclude individuals on the permanently ineligible list from being inducted into the Hall of Fame by way of the Baseball Writers Association of America vote. Rose is the only living member of the ineligible list. So, even though Rose did not agree to not being placed on the Hall of Fame ballot, he was made ineligible.

But, according to the Hall of Fame rules, there was still a chance for Pete Rose to finally receive his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Players who were not selected by the BBWAA could be considered by the Veterans Committee in the first year after they would have lost their place on the Baseball Writers’ ballot. Under the Hall’s rules, players may appear on the ballot for only fifteen years, beginning five years after they retire. Had the new rule not been but into place, Rose’s name could have been on the writers’ ballot beginning in 1992 and ending in 2006. Which, even despite the new rule, would have made Rose eligible for consideration by the Veterans Committee in 2007. But in 2007 his name, for some unexplained reason, did not appear on the ballot. Then in 2008 the Veterans Committee barred players and managers on the ineligible list from consideration. How convenient.

If you would like to read another, different opinion on the Pete Rose debate by another one of our talented Cleat Geek writers click here.

Pete-SlidesPete Rose gambled on baseball, he then lied about his gambling on baseball for years after he was caught for his transgressions. And for all of that, he needs to be punished. But, on the other hand, when he agreed to his lifetime ban, there were ways and systems in place to where he was still going to be able to be rewarded for all his accomplishments on the baseball field where all the other greats of the game are forever enshrined, the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rose currently holds 17 major league records, and 7 national league records. He has more records in baseball than any other 1 player. And, he has more items in the Baseball Hall of Fame than any other person. But the Baseball Hall of Fame does not have him.

The rules for getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame have changed, but Rose’s records have not. He deserves to be on the Hall of Fame ballot, with the same rules as any other retired player. But, I also believe with the decision handed down from Rob Manfred today, he does not belong in a dugout.





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  1. Pingback: Pete Rose Strikes Out Again – Cleat Geeks

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