To some, including myself, baseball is the greatest sport that has ever been played. It is a game played by two opposing teams made of multiple players, but only nine players per team play at the same time. To be part of one of the thirty teams that get to play professional baseball, a player has to play the game extremely well (www.baseballhalloffame.com). When a player plays the game better than most have played he gets rewarded, usually with lots of money in a big contract. Then there are those rare players, the 244 elite players of the game that have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Being inducted in the Hall of Fame is the utmost of baseball fame. The players listed are remembered forever. This brings me to my argument. Pete Rose should be allowed induction into the Hall of Fame.
Now, most of the baseball critics and brass do not want Pete Rose inducted. They claim that his illegal betting on baseball games should keep him out of the Hall of Fame. Almost all of the "highly questionable" evidence that Commissioner Bart Giamatti held was derived from former friends and associates of Rose. "Up to $30,000 per day", so some of Roses' "close" friends say. These former friends of Rose are Tommy Gioiosa, Donald Stenger, Mike Fry, and Paul Janszen. This evidence is what prompted the banishment from baseball of Pete Rose, which he signed. The evidence was enough for the Commissioner. In 1989, baseball's Commissioner Bart Giammati suspended Pete Rose from association with professional baseball for life for gambling (Reston 1997). Rose also spent five months in a minimum-security prison for tax evasion in 1990. He did not report cash money he accepted for signing baseballs and photographs at baseball card shows (Reston 1997). It is still to this day not proven that Rose 'did' bet on the baseball team that he was managing. Rose himself still holds true to his statement that he never bet on the game of baseball. Evidence is minimal and it has been over ten years, yet he is still ineligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame. If it was left up to his statistics, he should have been inducted years ago. There are a handful of the 244 elites that are in the Hall of Fame that did far worse things than gamble on the game of baseball or evade paying their taxes. For instance, the beloved Ty Cobb was a horrible racist and once admitted killing a man. One day while walking in Detroit, he stepped in freshly poured asphalt. Then a construction worker, named Fred Collins, who just happened to be black, yelled at him. Cobb responded by slapping Collins to the ground. Cobb was found guilty by the courts, and received a suspended sentence. Collins filed a civil suit, but settled out of court for $75. Ty Cobb had to deal with the law in one form or another many different times for striking black men (www.totalbaseball.com). The powers that run the baseball organization seem to turn their eyes, quite conveniently, away from any number of wife-beaters, and drug addict's everyday. They let known, proven criminals continue to play the game, but not Rose. There is no 'absolute proof' that Pete Rose did bet on baseball. So, why is it that a baseball player with so many of the greatest statistics is left out of the Hall of Fame? Pete Rose should be allowed induction into the Hall of Fame.
Many of the players that have made it to the highest level of the game, being inducted into the Hall of Fame, do not have even one tenth of the statistics that Pete Rose has (Gilbert 1994). Rose has more career hits than anyone who has ever played the game, 4,256 to be exact. Rose also played in 3,562 games (a major league record), was the 1963 Rookie of the Year, and in 1973 was the National Leagues Most Valuable Player. He holds the all-time league record for most at bats (14,053), the record for the most singles (3,315), and the record for most doubles (746). He also holds the all-time league record for most total career runs at 2,165. As you can see, Pete Rose more than fulfils the standards to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Pete Rose has also done something that no other player has had the ability or time to do. He has played over 500 games at each of five different positions (Sokolove 1992). His main stay appears to be first base (939 games), but when compared with the other positions played, it appears that he was just a great all around baseball player. He played 628 games at second base, 634 at third, 671 in left field, and 595 in right field. These are astronomical numbers compared to others that have played the game over time. Pete Rose is in a class all by himself.
Pete Rose also played professional baseball for more consecutive years than anyone else ever has. He played for a whopping 24 straight years, which is another all-time league record. These 24 years outdid even the great Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, and Rod Carew. Rose played major roles on the three championship years that he had. Rose and his teammates earned three World Series championships, whereas Ernie Banks, a member of the Hall of Fame, was never able to win one.
It may not be time to pardon Rose for his gambling or tax evasion. But, when baseball has a person that gave his heart and played like a true champion as Pete Rose did, how can we not induct him? It may not be time for the life long ban of Pete Rose and baseball to be lifted, but it sure is time for Pete Rose to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.