A recent Sports Illustrated article promoting Kostya Kennedy’s book, “It’s Time to Rethink Pete,” promotes the argument that the steroid users currently being denied entry in the Baseball Hall of Fame give Pete Rose a newfound credit for entry. That Pete Rose’s transgressions pale in comparison. The cover of this week’s SI has a picture a young Pete Rose in his prime looking as gritty and strong as he was with the “Big Red Machine” from the early to mid-1970s. The headline reading, “The Dilemma.”
Now throughout this article it becomes painfully obvious that author is trying to make you feel sorry for Pete Rose. And who doesn’t, in my opinion? This man was a fantastic ballplayer that set an almost unreachable milestone. He played the game with such passion and love that it is just painful that the he is not in the Hall of Fame. Now that we see some sympathy given towards players that ‘manipulated themselves’ to cheat the game, Rose’s circumstance, while managing, doesn’t seem as impactful. This is a fact that I strongly agree with in reference to Pete Rose, however, it will not change my stance of ‘deny entry’ towards Pete Rose.
Put simply, the Commissioner’s Office was born out of the need to enforce the very thing that Pete Rose involved himself in. If Bud Selig were to grant entry to Pete Rose, upon his resignation from the office, then he will go down as the worst Commissioner in history. If not already after being totally oblivious to an entire era of drug use in the game? Now I don’t want to crush Bud Selig to pieces as he has made some good decisions (i.e. eventually replay, playoff format), but enforcing corruption in the game is the Commissioner’s primary job. That is a fact. If they can’t, or won’t, do this then what is their purpose? Rule changes etc. can always be made as a collective.
Sorry Pete, Barry, Roger, Mark and Sammy that is the way it has been since the aftermath of 1919. Corrupt men that preceded this date are only in due to a technicality (i.e. Cobb).
Anyway, back to the SI article. It made me feel bad for Pete Rose, it really did. However, that is a familiar feeling and it doesn’t constitute much of a dilemma for baseball. Their stance is well establish and rightfully so. The article references Barry Larkin’s Hall of Fame speech that credited Pete Rose, “You know it … Pete Rose, 4,256 of them. That’s right.” Rose has his glory in the record books if anyone needs a reminder of his greatness. I’d say that is a pretty good consolation to not making the Hall.
Kennedy, Kostya. “The Pete Problem.” Sports Illustrated, March 10, 2014.