Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pete Rose

Imagine that Pete Rose is reinstated from the disqualified list and becomes Hall of Fame eligible. Imagine that you are a voter, obligated in conscience to fairly judge his qualifications under the criteria and to apply the criteria in letter and spirit.

Reinstatement would not imply innocence. Rose has finally “confessed” to serious misconduct but not to the full range of the allegations.

As a manager, he committed one of the game’s most serious crimes and did so flagrantly. Rose’s conduct is much different than Orlando Cepeda’s, whose offense occurred after his retirement and was not directly related to the game.

How would I vote? No one can contest Rose’s playing credentials. However, unless the character provision is ignored, a guilty Pete Rose presents the classic situation for application. If he is admitted, who could ever be excluded for lack of integrity? Just scratch out the provision and forget about it- forever. If reinstated, maybe Hal Chase and Ed Cicotte (of Black Sox fame) could be next! (I mention them instead of Joe Jackson, because these involvements were more extensive and undisputable. Quite apart from Rose, maybe it is time to reinstate Buck Weaver, for whatever purpose would be served.)

By the way, I am familiar with John Dowd’s skilled performances as a federal attorney. Despite years of denial by Rose, Dowd’s investigation and conclusions seemed solid. Even Rose's confession (for profit) in his recent book works against him, because his present version compounds the character flaws demonstrated by years of direct falsehood and allegations/insinuations of wrongdoing by baseball’s establishment.

While I was writing Waiting for Cooperstown, a “steroids scandal” has surfaced. How will the candidacies of power hitters with classic achievements be affected? The Hall includes several members whose character flaws can be fairly well documented: drunks, womanizers, racists, even some with criminal records. Some allegedly threw “spit balls” and other illegal pitches. Performance counts! That favors Rose (if reinstated) and many others. The gambling aspects strike at the heart of the game. That’s a difference.
My immediate thought is that these judgments should not be made solely by individual voters on a case-by-case basis. As sure as anything, inconsistencies will occur. The organizations should develop policy guidelines.

Sam Reich, 10/10/06


Blogger Emperor Penguin said...

Baseball is a child's game, and hall of famers are children's idols. Whatever criteria guide selection must bar entry to those who offend those standards of conduct we wish our children to uphold. I don't know if that can be codified - use the O.J. Simpson example instead of Pete Rose. O.J. never has been convicted of a crime and his conduct had nothing to do with his game. Voters should be able to deny admission to O.J. Sure, maybe in some days that means that Communists and outed homosexuals might not be voted in, but there is no right to Hall membership. More enlightened generations can correct our mistakes in that regard.

12:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home