By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hit King deserves a second chance
Placeholder Image
The question as to whether or not Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame seems to come up at least once each year.

The stirring controversy usually lasts a week or so, and then vanishes into thin air - poof! - waiting to appear again if only for a brief moment during a slow news day.

It's a remarkable debate, requiring a simple yes or no answer.

Of course, a little research into the matter would certainly be useful, and perhaps some compassion for a man who clearly deserves a second chance - a chance I think he will eventually get in the future.

Last week on The Dan Patrick Radio Show, the topic was addressed once again when Rose said that he bet on his Cincinnati Reds "every night."

According to Wikipedia, Rose was placed on the permanent ineligibility list for Major League Baseball in 1989 after accusations stemmed claiming he bet on the Reds when he was the manager. Following the ban, the Hall of Fame voted to ban players on the permanently ineligible list.

For 15 years, Rose vehemently denied any wrongdoing whatsoever, particularly betting on America's pastime. Sadly, he was debilitated by a disease encouraging excessive gambling and compulsive lying.

But in 2004 he confessed to cheating in his book "My Prison Without Bars." Once again, the argument had risen; however, this time it seemed to linger, suspended in mid-air for several months with nothing of significance really happening toward reinstating Rose.

I raced out and bought the book immediately, just as many others did. After reading it and gaining much more insight about the man nicknamed 'Charlie Hustle' for his style of play, I started feeling sorry for the guy.

Even now, when I see him on television or hear him on the radio I truly feel bad for him.

Feelings aside, does Rose deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely; without question. (As a matter of fact, so does Joe Jackson, but that's another story which you're probably already familiar with because of films such as "8 Men Out" and "Field of Dreams.")

We live in a world full of second chances, especially in sports. In some instances, professional athletes are given multiple chances (i.e. Darryl Strawberry, Ray Lewis and Ron Artest immediately come to mind).

So, if guys like Ty Cobb, Gaylord Perry and Babe Ruth - yes, the Sultan of Swat - are resting peacefully in Cooperstown, then why can't the all-time hits leader join them? Those guys didn't have a bit of uprightness, especially not standards set high enough to be a member of the Hall of Fame.

According to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Rulebook, Rule 5 states that "voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."

OK, well if that's the case get the aforementioned players out of Cooperstown. Those are just words on a page, that's all they are.

If that rule were really true, then Major League Baseball should kick anyone out of the league who has ever cheated, period. And when I use the word 'cheated' I'm speaking of players who have used steroids, corked bats, abused drugs (amphetamines or greenies), steroids, extra pine tar, steroids, spitballs and did I mention steroids?

Oh, and if anyone has ever charged the mound or even gone after a fan, throw him out of the game, too - that's not showing good sportsmanship, either.

There - now we'd have ourselves a real Hall of Fame comprised of the virtues regarding Rule 5 in the rulebook. Now, it might be a fairly small Hall of Fame, but at least we'd have pure, wholesome baseball players who respect the game, right?

What confuses me is this grand exhibit of Rose and his accomplishments displayed at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, which has opened and will remain until 2008. It will showcase various memorabilia, including the bat used to break the all-time hits record, ironically set by Cobb.

But wait, I thought Rose was banned from Major League Baseball? What's that? Oh, Commissioner Bud Selig approved the 2,000-square foot exhibit? Really? And it's going to be right there in the front lobby, where thousands of fans will see it? Interesting...

Fortunately, for Pete's sake the exhibit will not mention anything regarding his banishment from the game that he still clearly loves.

Obviously, this is clearly one enormous step toward reinstating Rose. In fact, he has been granted approval to attend various Major League Baseball events by the Commissioner's Office. What kind of ban is this supposed to be, anyway?

Selig has already said he will not be in attendance when and if Barry Bonds becomes the home run king this season. Although Bonds has only been accused and not proven guilty that he used steroids, something is amiss in Selig's eyes. Now, if Selig holds true to his word and doesn't show up on the biggest stage in sports history, what do you think Selig will eventually do regarding Rose?

Rose holds more than 20 records, three World Series rings, a World Series MVP Award and was selected as an All-Star 17 times during his brilliant career.

This is a man who has confessed he had a serious problem - a man who acknowledges that what he did was wrong, and he is deeply sorry. This is a man who has battled his inner demons throughout his entire life, and is paying for it each day he wakes up in the morning.

But this is also a man who is desperately crying out for help, wanting to not be remembered for a terrible mistake he made, but rather what he did on the field.