First Posted: 7/28/2009 4:45:02 PM | Last Updated: 8/3/2009 4:48:43 PM
By Andy Furman
Pete Rose isn’t talking. And that’s a good thing.
Let him save the speech for his Hall of Fame induction – which seems just around the corner. It seems baseball commissioner Bud Selig is seriously considering lifting Rose’s lifetime suspension from baseball. And Rose who is in Cincinnati through Wednesday is totally mum on the subject.
Seems Selig was swayed by Hall of Famer Hank Aaron at last weekend’s induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y. “I’d like to see Pete in. He belongs there,” Aaron said in published reports. Aaron also said he’d like an asterisk put on the achievements of any steroid cheats elected to the Hall of Fame.
Selig considers Aaron one of his closest friends, and certainly values his opinion. It was also reported that Rose’s former teammates on the board, Vice-chairman Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson also expressed publicly they’d like Pete in the Hall.
It was August, 1989 – just about 20 years ago – Rose was given a lifetime ban for gambling on baseball. Rose, who usually has time for the media, was relatively hush-hush the past two days in Cincinnati. Perhaps he knows what the future may bring – or he just doesn’t have much to say. Yet. If the commissioner does see fit to reinstate the Hit King, Rose would be eligible for the Hall of Fame – but on the ballot of the Veterans Committee since his 15 years on the Baseball Writers ballot expired during his time on the ineligible list. That it is a bit confusing since Rose was never officially placed on the writers’ ballot so how could his time have expired?
In any event, should his name appear on the Veterans Committee ballot Rose would need to be elected by the 65 living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame? He would need 75% of the votes – or no more than 16 “no’s”. In a country known for second-chances – take a look at one of our Presidents – perhaps Pete Rose has done his time. But perhaps with the sagging economy baseball needs a shot in the arm, and what better way than an announcement to put Rose on the ballot. It would create excitement and give baseball a much needed jolt. Not to mention a feather in the cap for Bud Selig and his legacy.
Rose, with 4,256 hits is the all-time hits leader. Keeping him out of baseball immortality would be a tremendous mistake. Much of his memorabilia is already on display in Cooperstown. His plaque would be a welcome site for many. In short, is Pete Rose better on the outside looking in – or inside looking out?
Rose would probably have to make some sort of public apology as a condition for his reinstatement. Certainly he’d be prohibited from managing – yet what owner would even take a chance on hiring him? He’d make a perfect commentator for radio or television. And a ballclub might be wise to place him in uniform as a batting coach. Whatever, he’s a tremendous ambassador for baseball. And quite honestly, not only does baseball miss him – baseball needs him.