Pete Rose’s case for Cooperstown

Photo Credit: Ronald C. Modra - Getty Images

Photo Credit: Ronald C. Modra – Getty Images

To recapitulate the controversy that ensued with Pete Rose in recent weeks, the former Cincinnati Red has been indicated as not only one to have gambled on games he managed, but ones he played in as well.

New documents obtained by ESPN’s Outside the Lines program suggest Rose bet extensively on baseball as a player-manager for the Reds in 1986. The documents contained a notebook that had been seized by the US Postal Inspection Service in October 1989 and had been sealed up until this past month.

The notebook manifested numerous pages from Rose’s former gambling associate, Michael Bertolini, that held betting details for games from March through July in 1986, listing Rose’s compensation as well.

“This does it. This closes the door,” said former federal prosecutor John Dowd, who led the investigation on Rose’s gambling activities.

These records, along with sworn testimony from former bookie Ron Peters that conducted business with Rose from 1984 to 1986, surely appears to put this matter to an end. So what should be his future regarding his business with MLB in any capacity?

To be blunt, the man deserves Hall of Fame induction. It cannot be stressed enough how pathetic of a curtailment it is for Rose to not have his name on the ballot.

To accumulate the staggering production of 4,256 hits, 746 doubles, and 5752 total bases which rank first, second, and seventh in MLB history respectively is unimaginable.

Nicknamed Charlie Hustle, Rose was prominent for his impressive work ethic in baseball that never had a whiff of tainted controversy with any performance enhancing drugs or substances.

Rose may have posted unreachable numbers, but they were posted as a result of his meticulous approach and determination to go above and beyond. His versatility as a player to play multiple positions was unparalleled, as Rose excelled in six different positions in his career.

Work ethic was epitomized by this superstar and it was all genuine in the way he delivered…yet we deny him entry into Cooperstown? We allow performance enhancing drug users eligibility to be inducted, but Rose is considered a different story?

The act of compromising the integrity of the game is the controversy associated with Rose’s actions. Rose’s authenticity in terms of whether or not he threw games away is what is being questioned, not his actual level of production, which was 100 percent authentic and clean.

Meanwhile, players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire are given the nod to have the chance to be elected, despite their illegally enhanced level of play. The four players have been associated with performance enhancing drugs throughout their career

Both acts question the game’s integrity, but at least Rose’s actual contribution was never tainted and that every one of his 4,256 career hits was all him and not a bevy of steroid injections.

To analyze Rose’s career, one can look through every statistic as evidence of his contribution to his team and to the league as a player, but the same can’t be said for the others.

One can’t analyze the PED user’s careers for what they contributed, because there is no certainty as for when everything they delivered was pure. It’s contradictory and even hypocritical for one to allow them to have a shot at the Hall of Fame, while Rose is renounced.

The public knows Rose is a true 17 time All-Star, two time gold glover, three time world series champion, and model representative of the MVP honor. Each home run hit and strike out thrown is not ensured to have 100 percent legitimacy with the other four players.

Players like Bonds cheated and unfortunately succeeded in gaining an unfair edge over other players, while Rose stuck to his own guns and won in the fairest fashion.

This isn’t an attempt to bash steroid users, although it appears they’ve been coddled too much. Instead, it’s simply another argument to be made for why Rose deserves enshrinement.

It has been 26 years and counting since Rose was last an MLB employee and 23 years since Rose has been eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Enough is enough: if Rose is to be kept from working in MLB ever again, so be it. Although an argument can be made to suggest a second chance, refusing to honor him for his heroics as a player is absurd.

Racists, criminals, and yes, even cheaters have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. But Rose is the one to be. Pud Galvin is an immediate red flag that comes to mind and accentuates the hypocrisy and pathetic ignorance of MLB staying true to valuing the game’s integrity more than anything else.

Galvin’s time of play was far before professional baseball took actual consideration into banning performance enhancing substances, but to honor a cheater as him, despite dismissing Rose, is simply illogical.

It’s been long enough for Rose to remain out of this prestigious honor that his meritorious career has warranted.

Rose wasn’t just a star player, but was someone who revolutionized MLB in what he accomplished – and it all stemmed from his hard work shaping his average level of talent into an elite skillset.

This All-Time leader in games played changed MLB for over 24 seasons and should be honored for his dedication and commitment to the game that we might never see again.

Getting back into MLB as an employee may be a work in progress, but 23 years out of the Hall of Fame is a travesty for a man that was among the greatest at what he did.  It’s up to Rob Manfred to make it right.