The Wide World Of Sports: Pete Rose


Parker Abate

Parker Abate, Columnist

In my last article, I discussed a controversy that started on a football field. In this piece, I would like to discuss a controversial topic that began off the field in the sport of baseball.

3,562 games played. 15,890 plate appearances. 14,053 at bats. 4,256 hits. Any fan of Major League Baseball knows who has these record-setting statistics on his resumé: Pete Rose. People often forget that Rose is one of the best, if not the best, hitter of all time. Rose, however, has not received the credit that he is due. This is because on August 24, 1989, the commissioner at the time, Bart Giamatti, banned Rose from the game for life because he was caught gambling on games as both a player and manager. Now, 25 years later, the MLB has finally released a statement saying that:

“On Thursday, September 24th, Commissioner Rob Manfred met with Pete Rose and his representatives at Major League Baseball’s New York office regarding Mr. Rose’s application for reinstatement. Commissioner Manfred informed Mr. Rose that he will make a decision on his application by the end of the calendar year. Both parties have agreed to refrain from further comment.”

So they’re now saying there is a chance Rose could be reinstated? I have pondered this topic over and over, and I have come to one conclusion: Let the man back in.

I do not condone Major League Baseball players illegally betting on baseball games, but what he did, did not affect what was done on the field. It has come to everyone’s attention that he only bet on his team to prevail. People may say that this gave him motivation to play harder, but that is ridiculous. Pete Rose was an incredibly gifted baseball player who clearly had a gambling problem. What he did on the field is completely different from what he did off the field. He knew his talents were superior as both a player and manager, and he was always confident that his team would triumph.

Let’s think this through for a minute. The MLB allows former players like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens, despite their separate steroid scandals, to be eligible for the Hall of Fame. These three players may never receive the most prized honor in all of Major League Baseball, but that is not the point. Major League Baseball has allowed them to stay intact with the game that they love despite what they did off the field in order to gain an advantage on the field. What Pete Rose did had no effect on his 4,256 hits. Only one man has hit for more than 4,200 hits in a Major League Baseball career: Pete Rose. Statistically, he is the best hitter ever. The MLB, as an association, has to let him back in baseball. This would allow him to possibly be a coach, hold a front office job, and most importantly be a candidate for the Hall of Fame.

The chances of Rose being inducted are slim because of the bad name he has received, but the point is simply about acknowledging one of the greatest players of all time.

A counter argument could possibly be “what kind of standard is the MLB setting if they reverse his suspension?” Really? Every major league baseball player or coach who has ever thought of betting on games (if any) has thought of Pete Rose. A quarter of a century is an extremely lengthy period of time and Major League Baseball set a precedent back in 1989 when it expelled Rose. Letting him back in the league is not going to put a thought in other players’ heads – like “Hey, look. They let Pete off the hook, so maybe they will give me a break too if I decide to bet on some games.” No. Major League Baseball made an example of Rose so no one would bet again.

It is now time for Commissioner Manfred and America in general to accept Pete Rose back into the game he loves. He knows what he did was wrong, and he has paid his price. Yes, the rule says that betting is illegal, but the lesson has been learned. If professional sports can give second chances to criminals and drug addicts, then there is no way a man who had an obvious gambling problem should not be given a second chance. He made a mistake, and he knows that. We cannot let what he did on the field be overlooked. He played the game unlike any other player who took the field.

I firmly believe that Pete Rose, arguably the best hitter of all time, deserves reinstatement into Major League Baseball. Let the man back in.