Second Chances

Article excerpt

Bill Clinton has a new pet cause: Pete Rose. In an interview with People magazine, the president said he would like to see the former baseball great admitted to the baseball's Hall of Fame someday, preferably during Mr. Rose's lifetime. There's just one sticking point. In 1989, Mr. Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from major league baseball - making him ineligible for the Hall of Fame - after league officials conducted a gambling investigation and accused him of betting on baseball.

Not a problem, according to Mr. Clinton. "I think just about everybody ought to get a second chance," he said. "I'd like to see it worked out because he brought a lot of joy to the game, and he gave a lot of joy to people, and he's paid a price. God knows, he's paid a price."

You don't have to be Sigmund Freud, or even Karnac the Magnificent, to figure out what's going on here: The impeached president sees a soul mate in the banned ballplayer. Mr. Clinton's expressions of magnanimity toward Mr. Rose - his calls to overlook the allegations against him so that he might take his rightful pedestal in the Hall of Fame - mirror Mr. Clinton's hopes for his own precious legacy. That is, if Major League Baseball can forgive and forget, maybe posterity will do a little compartmentalizing of its own when it comes to evaluating the Clinton years.

Indeed, if Rose is allowed to end up in the Hall of Fame, perhaps Bill Clinton will one day find a nook for himself in Statuary Hall. …