19a Should Pete Rose Be
in the Hall of Fame?
AEON J. SKOBLE
Pete Rose finished his storied career with a lifetime batting average of over .300, with a record-setting 4,256 hits in a record-setting 3,562 games. He was named MVP of the World Series, helping the Cincinnati Reds to victory in 1975, and he was the regular-season MVP in 1973. He led the National League in batting three times, and boasted a 44-game hitting streak in 1978. His nickname, “Charlie Hustle,” reflects his enthusiasm and work ethic as a player, for which he was universally acclaimed.
Rose's achievements are those of a Hall of Fame player. His inclusion in that august company should be, to use a technical term, a no-brainer. Yet he is ineligible even to be considered for inclusion, thanks to discipline meted out by then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti. Unless the ailing is rescinded, Rose will remain out of the Hall of Fame. But the question is, should Rose be in the Hall of Fame? The answer is an unequivocal “yes.” Given his impressive record, the burden of proof ought to be on those who claim he should not be in the Hall of Fame. They advance precisely one argument: Rose bet on sports. He even bet on baseball. While he was a manager, he may even have bet on his own team. This, we are told, is a disgrace of such epic proportions that he should forever be banned from having his excellence recognized.
Let's grant for the sake of argument that he bet on baseball, that he bet on the Reds-exactly what is the moral wrong here?