Of all the terrible things professional athletes could do, betting on their own team doesn’t seem that terrible by today’s standards. However, this act caused controversy and debate for decades in the case of former Cincinnati Red Pete Rose. Rose was indefinitely banned from professional baseball for gambling over 30 years ago despite a beyond spectacular career.
It’s time for Rose to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
From the early 1960s to the mid 1980s, Rose dominated pitchers as a switch hitter and finished his career with 4,256 career hits, the most in MLB history. This alone should be enough for him to be immortalized in baseball history without even considering the fact that Rose also finished with an impressive .303 batting average and over 1,300 RBIs.
These accolades were enough to allow Rose to be remembered as one of the greatest to step into the batter’s box, but a scandal in 1989 prevented him from ever officially receiving the praise he deserved. Rose was handed a vicious lifetime ban from baseball after it was discovered he would consistently gamble on baseball games while he was playing.
Rose admitted in an autobiography in 2004 to betting on his own team frequently. He said he would bet every day in favor of the Reds and that he loved his team and was just that confident.
Following the recent Houston Astros fiasco involving stealing opponents’ signs via video camera and winning the 2019 World Series, It seems pretty apparent to me that the MLB doesn’t care about cheating, so why should this incident be allowed to prevent the best hitter of all time from being properly awarded? Rose didn’t give his team an unfair advantage that led to a national championship. He only bet money that his team would beat whoever was in their way. He never tried to affect the outcome of a game by enhancing his or his team’s performance in an unnatural way.
I’m not saying that what Rose did was ethical, but I feel like if this was handled like most controversies today Rose would be given a minor scolding and suspension, and he would Tweet that he was sorry. That would be the end of it.
The way Rose played wasn’t about how big, strong or fast he was. He was a guy that simply knew his skillset and worked harder than just about everyone else. Rose even earned the nickname “Charlie Hustle” in 1963 from former New York Yankee and hall of famer Whitey Ford.
To put it simply, it’s wrong for the MLB to rob Rose of his hall of fame title. It’s been 31 years since his career ended. He’s contributed enough to the game and waited long enough to be granted what he deserves.