On Thursday, September 24, MLB’s all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, met with commissioner Rob Manfred to discuss Rose’s reinstatement into MLB. In August 1989, he was banned for life from baseball, and since then, the debate over whether or not the punishment is fair and whether or not he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame has raged among baseball’s fans.
In light of the newest turn of events in this controversy, I thought it would be an appropriate time for me to share my slightly above average-ly informed opinion on the matter.
The following explains why I believe it is only right for Rose to be reinstated into baseball, and thus be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
He has more hits than anyone else in baseball ever.
Call me crazy, but I think the person with the most hits should be in the Hall of Fame. He bet on games while he played and managed, and that’s obviously not acceptable by any means, but it seems that there is no way this affected his play, and with that in mind, it would be harder to find a more successful player than Pete Rose. He leads all of baseball history in hits, singles, at-bats, and games played.
The numbers don’t lie.
The man was an incredible offensive player and nothing can take that away from him. With numbers like his, there is no question that he is more than deserving of a place in the Hall.
Please note: this sentiment does not extend to players like Barry Bonds, whose transgressions clearly affected their ability to play the game. I’m also pretty sure the two articles about baseball that I’ve written should make me eligible for Hall of Fame voting, so my opinion on this matter is very relevant.
He was on two Phillies World Series teams.
My Phillies were founded in 1883, making them one of the oldest sports franchises still in the world today. Unfortunately, it took them until 1980 (yeah, 97 excruciating years) to win a World Series championship. This could not have happened without Pete Rose. He led the 1980 team in hits, doubles, and at-bats and was one of the core leaders of the team. Anyone responsible for a Phillies World Series is a hero in my eyes, and can certainly do no wrong (okay, almost).
Throughout the 3,562 games he played in his MLB career, Pete Rose was known for his hard-nosed and passionate style of play. This earned him the nickname “Charlie Hustle” which I would argue is one of the better in all of sports history. It’s simple, clean, concise, and to the point. The nickname perfectly expresses the intense style of play that he was known for.
On top of this, there seems to be no reason for the “Charlie” part. His name is Peter Edward Rose, so there’s no explanation for the nickname other than awesomeness.
During his time with the Cincinnati Reds, he played on one of the best baseball teams ever assembled. With Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and Joe Morgan, the Reds of the 1970s were nicknamed the “Big Red Machine.” This too is a great nickname– it references the team’s name, demonstrates its dominance, and rolls right off the tongue. Any man involved in two of the best nicknames in sports history certainly deserves a spot back in baseball.
Involvement in WWE.
What a lot of you probably don’t know is that Rose’s affiliation with professional sports didn’t end with his ban from baseball.
Rose has appeared in multiple WWE events including Wrestlemanias and Raw events. Throughout this, Rose was tombstoned many times, often by Kane, once again demonstrating his durability and toughness. Any man who can have that many hits and take that many hits deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Actually, any man who can have that many hits alone deserves it, but this is just cool.
There is nothing more American than huge men in ridiculous outfits beating each other up, and Rose was directly involved in this.
You could argue that perhaps tax evasion and dating a Playboy model are more American, but Rose did those things too.
Rose was hired in 2015 to be a color commentator for Fox Sports. Anytime a new anchor is hired, we get closer to the end of Joe Buck, and that is something we can all be grateful for.
You all know the picture I’m talking about. Rose, in a Phillies uniform, is involved in a headfirst dive, with his arms and legs fully extended, at least two feet off the ground. With his hair flowing backwards and a his face focused squarely ahead, the man looks like he is flying. It is one of the iconic pictures in all of baseball, and in actuality the only real evidence I need to make my case for him. He looks like the beast he is, and it is a serious testament to the kind of player he was.
In conclusion, the man did make mistakes– mistakes that I’m sure he regrets every day.
Nonetheless, he didn’t cheat, and it’s unfair to his legacy and the years he dedicated to the game of baseball to keep him from being voted into the Hall of Fame.