Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Yeah, Pete, I'm also sorry that you bet on baseball
Some day Pete Rose will be admitted to the Hall of Fame. But it won't happen soon.
We want to celebrate our baseball heroes -- and, although Pete Rose’s accomplishments on the field are amazing, there’s not much to ‘celebrate’ about Pete Rose. Gambling on baseball is (so far, anyway) the one mortal baseball sin. Heck, even Joe Jackson can't get in the Hall -- and, even if he took some of the money in 1919, his sterling play during the Series shows no hint of him assisting the plot to throw the Series.
Players now are "enshrined" in Cooperstown. This is slightly different from canonization, because only an ability to get along with the sportswriter-electorate is required, not actual holiness, and because only miracles on the field are necessary for election. In the present climate, you'd have to think that even Ty Cobb, the leading vote getter in the original Hall of Fame class, would have trouble getting in.
Pete Rose should never be "enshrined" in Cooperstown. But we need to find a way to recognize the achievements of flawed people like him, holding them up as cautionary tales, not role models. Otherwise Mr. Rose will soon have a lot of company waiting at the gates of the Hall.