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Let me start off by saying that I've always likened the Pete Rose situation to the Watergate scandal.
I don't think it's the crime that has people so upset it's the blatant cover up of it.
While it's probably true Rose never against his own team, only for them, there were days when he didn't bet for them. That meant he had a financial incentive to win certain games over others. That meant he could have altered the bullpen to try harder to win games or hold leads which may have been detrimental to the team in the long run depending on the situation.
Still it's probably not the worst thing in the world and probably didn't cost the Reds much. Had he just come out and admitted it right from the get go, he would have probably been suspended but his dignity would have still be intact. But what did he do instead?
He denied continuously for months which soon turned into years, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that said he did. (If you ever actually have the time to read the Dowd report, it's available online; the evidence against him is simply damning. People in this country have been convicted on one tenth of the evidence Dowd had against Rose.)
Even when people who didn't like each other and had no reason to work with each other were testifying against him, Rose still denied it claiming it was all a scheme to get back at him.
Rose figured there was no way Major League Baseball could blackball one of it's greatest players, and therefore rules like that didn't apply to him.
Unfortunately for Rose he overplayed his hand immensely. Nobody is above the sanctity of the game, no matter how great they are. Something then Commissioner Bart Giamatti made very clear in that famous press conference where he announced Rose had been banned for life from the game he loved so dearly.
When Rose finally did come out and admitted he bet on the game it was all done to sell a book. On the field he's one of the all-time greats, no doubt about it. But that should tell you everything you need to know about what type of a person he is off the field.
As far as the Hall of Fame goes, I've found myself getting more and more fed up with the system they have set up. Too many guys like Jim Rice getting in ahead of guys like Andre Dawson, who was a slam dunk better player then Rice, simply because it's seen that Rice waited long enough. You're either a Hall of Famer or your not. I know everyone has different standards as to who should get into that Hall of Fame based on statistical merit, but I think we can all agree that Jim Rice was the same player now as he was when he first came onto the ballot.
It's just this type of behind the scenes politics which probably always existed but is only being focused on now that has me more fed up then ever with the Hall of Fame.
With Rose though whether you reinstate him or not it really doesn't matter to me. You can't take away what he did on the field as one of the greatest players ever to play the game. He's the all-time leader in hits, games played, and at-bats. But you also can't take away the fact that he is one of the most pathetic and shallow minded individuals the game has ever seen for what he did as manager.
I've gotten to the point where I'm just done with Pete Rose. He's a great player who's forever disgraced himself. Whether he's in the Hall or not, that last sentence about him will never change.