A Rose by any other name, is just as sweet; But a Hall without Rose is incomplete

“I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit
to play baseball” - Pete Rose

On September 11th 1985, members of the San Diego Padres stood around the batting cage prior to their game that evening against the Cincinnati Reds, flanked by the Padres starting pitcher, Eric Show.  Show, a tortured man, an unpopular teammate and a member of the John Birch Society, was approached in jovial fashion by the well-liked Tim Flannery.
 
“Eric,” Flannery shouted tongue-in-cheek, “You always think the whole world is against you,” “well tonight you’re right!”
 
Approximately 90-minutes later, Show surrendered hit number 4,192 to Pete Rose, making Rose the Major League Baseball ‘Hit-King,’ as well as the all-time leader. Certainly there could be no doubt that everyone in the stadium, anybody watching or listening to the game, or even the most casual baseball fan was definitely rooting for Pete Rose that evening. 
 
Nothing has changed, we still do…
 
Who didn’t like ‘Charlie Hustle?’ Unless of course, you had to play against him, but even then he commanded respect from everyone. Why not? Has there ever been anybody that played the game harder, committed himself to their craft more diligently, or personified the essence of our National Pastime better?
 
While at Western Hills HS in Cincinnati , Ohio , Rose was a marginal prospect at best. An early scouting report stated: “Pete Rose can’t run, can’t throw, does not have a specific position, and he should try to learn to hit right-handed before trying to hit left-handed.”
 
However Pete Rose always insisted he was blessed with a great work ethic, an attribute that trumps all other faculties.
 
Can you name another player that ever made greater use of their natural talents? Rose’s extraordinary spirit and determination, the enthusiasm he brought to the job every day, was alone worth the price of admission.
 
After breaking Cobb’s record, he finished with a total of 4,256 hits in an unequaled 3,562 games and 14,053 at bats for a lifetime average of .303. Pete Rose also holds 31 other Major and National League records.
 
The reason I am asking so many questions is simple. Can you give me a valid reason, at this juncture, why Pete Rose shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame? Does it serve any fruitful purpose to continue keeping Rose out of Cooperstown ?
 
Even revisionist history now reveals that while rendering the decision of Rose’s lifetime banishment in 1989, Commissioner Bart Giamatti had reasonable doubts that Rose had bet on baseball.  Nonetheless, the verdict was rendered and I have always had this nagging feeling that Giamatti made a deathbed plea with his successor Fay Vincent,  to uphold his judgment.
 
I am also of the opinion that the alleged conversation which I theorize took place between Giamatti and Vincent, was passed onto our current commissioner, Bud Selig.
 
But, this is America .
 
Redemption is good for the soul, and for our collective souls. Amnesty and forgiveness are rendered when it makes sense. President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon even though it was a politically costly choice for him.
 
I believe Bud Selig should do the same. In other words, he must set in motion a course of action whereby Pete Rose can be forgiven in the eyes of Major League Baseball, thus beginning the process that will land Charlie Hustle in the Hall of Fame.
 
In Selig’s case, it would actually be a politically popular choice. Even before Pete Rose admitted to betting on baseball and apologizing, a Sports Illustrated poll conducted in the 1990’s indicated 97% of the respondents believed that Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.
 
As I alluded to earlier, who doesn’t root for Pete Rose? He has paid an incredible price for his indiscretions, even serving prison time. He is gainfully employed, he has subsequently led the life of a law-abiding citizen, and he has complied with the special restraints imposed upon him by three consecutive commissioners.
 
As a result of his banishment, in painful dignity he has suffered many other actual and indirect punishments as well.
 
Whenever the U.S. government makes a decision to grant amnesty or an official pardon, they follow specific guidelines; They assess the offense, extenuating circumstances, evidence of reform or restitution, and the willingness of the victims to forego continuing punishment of the guilty.
 
By the way, who exactly are the victims? I say the real victims are the legions of fans spanning 3 generations that would like to see Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame.
 
The governing body of baseball needs to act quickly and decisively in favor of Peter Edward Rose. Election to the Hall of Fame has never been an affirmation of impeccable character, but rather a recognition of extraordinary achievements on the diamond.
 
Ty Cobb is in the Hall of Fame. Why not Pete Rose? If not now, when?
 
Many years ago the legendary Ty Cobb was asked about how he would feel if somebody broke his hit record, and the Georgia Peach replied, “It would take a helluva man to break my records, and I would like to meet that man.”
Pete Rose is a helluva man.
 
A helluva man deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
 
I bet even Eric Show would agree.
 

(c) 2010 BernieFratto.com