In The Hall: Should Pete Rose Be Reinstated?

English 112

19 March 2004

It seems that every time the news is turned on the lead sports stories are not about sports at all. Instead, they are rumors of scandals, infidelity, and performance enhancing drugs. In the midst of all of the controversy, the Pete Rose story has never faded. Accused of betting on baseball, Pete Rose accepted a lifetime ban that prohibits his nomination into the Baseball Hall of Fame. With the release of his new book, My Prison Without Bars, Rose admits to gambling and seeks readmission into the baseball world. This has caused much diversity among sports fans. Pete Rose should be nominated for the Hall based on his skills as a baseball player. But, because of the effect gambling could have on his team, he should be allowed to manage.

Pete Rose was accused of gambling in the late 1980\'s while managing the Cincinnati Reds. Rose denied the accusations and in an attempt to cool the investigation accepted a lifetime ban that prevents him from managing a team, being nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame, or even attending a game. Now, almost 15 years later, Rose has admitted to betting on baseball in his book. Still, many argue that this confession is not enough to lift the expulsion he faced from the baseball community. Polls show that the pubic is almost equally divided on this issue. A study conducted on the internet sited Knowledge Network says that when questioned whether Rose should be allowed into baseballís Hall of Fame 56% said yes while 44% said no ("Baseball Fans Reject Pete Rose"). Still, the current Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, is torn on whether to lift the ban or protect the honest name of baseball. If he lifts the ban, Rose will be the first to be reinstated into the game.

Despite the fact that if Pete Rose is reinstated he will be the first, Rose is not the only player to be kicked out of baseball. In an article by former Commissioner Fay Vincent he tells the story of a gambling scandal similar to Roseís. In 1919 several players were convicted in a scandal of fixing the World Series. The Black Sox Scandal, as it was called, resulted in some of the greatest players of the game suffering a suspension from baseball from the first Commissioner Kenesaw Landis. As a result, baseball players now consider gambling the ultimate crime. Even though many players in this scandal eligible for the Hall of Fame have sought to be reinstated, none have succeeded.

"Shoeless" Joe Jackson is an example of a player that is seeking readmission. He was one of the players that was involved in the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. Like Rose, he was a player that was blessed with playing abilities that cannot be denied. However, even though he confessed he has still not been readmitted. Most who feel that Rose should be reinstated think that others like "Shoeless" Jackson should be reinstated, too.

Now that Rose has confessed the question being asked is should players be nominated for the Hall of Fame based on playing skills or on morals? I think that, though some standards should be in place, a player should not be denied access simply because of errors in the past. Rose ís skills as a player are unarguable. He had 4,256 career hits and ten times he had two hundred or more hits in a season . He was a National League Most Valuable Player and served seven years as a manager for the Reds (Verdi). These statistics alone are enough to prove his case for nomination.

Not only are his statistics proof, but also the fact that his gambling never effected his playing abilities. For instance, Sammy Sosa is accused of using a bat that would improve his hitting abilities. Also, Barry Bonds is being investigated on the accusation that he used drugs that would enhance his chances for hitting home runs. Unlike these two modern day heros, Rosesís gambling never enhanced his skills as a player. The records he broke and games he won were all a result of hard work and determination.

Although Roses playing skills are undeniable, some feel that