posted on Jan, 23 2006 @ 05:43 PM
IA Clonz (and all),
All I can tell you is that I agree with you. He DID compromise the game's integrity by burning up those relievers, night after night, either in the
bullpen or actually in the game, for reasons that had nothing to do with giving his team its best chance to win a playoff spot over a 162-game span.
I personally do not think that is an offense for which he should be banished forever from the Hall, and everyone I've discussed the subject
with--obviously including you--agrees with me.
I think the guy is overrated, and I've always thought so, but he's obviously a first-round Hall of Famer on his feats. Bill James ranks him as a
right fielder, which means he played more games there than he did in left field or at first, second or third base. But at ANY of those positions,
Rose could rank no higher than 5th best of all time, and at some of them (most obviously first base), he couldn't come within a mile of 5th place.
However, I'm saying those things only because some people, perhaps after drinking 3 or 4 six-packs of microbrew beer, talk like Rose is the greatest
player ever. And that's hilarious.
But you don't have to be in the Top 5 at any position, much less be Babe Ruth, to be a first-round Hall of Famer. And Pete Rose is a
first-round Hall of Famer... perhaps not on his "average" stats, most of which are mediocre, but on his "totals" stats, which are awesome. Number one
by FAR in singles, since Cobb hit tons of triples more than Rose. One of only four men with 700+ doubles, Rose is #2 all time with 746, comfortably
behind Tris Speaker (who was a far better player). Rose also is: #1 in at bats; #5 in runs scored, right behind Ruth and Aaron (ponder that); #6 in
total bases; #6 in walks; #10 in runs created (a big stat), and #20 in extra base hits.
Now, a lot of those stats are functions of Rose's playing those last five years, which should never have happened, because his stats were just plain
horrible for a full-time FIRST BASEMAN: no HR power and usually a very mediocre on-base percentage, at a position where a good bat is essential.
But so what? Take away the last five years and do you know what happens? He would probably be #4 in hits, falling behind not only Cobb, but also
Aaron and Musial, but staying ahead of Speaker and Wagner. His averages would be MUCH higher, looking like the average stats of a Hall of Famer.
And he would stil be a slam-dunk, first-round Hall of Famer.
So... We'd be in the same predicament we are in now. The ONLY legitimate reason for keeping him out of the Hall, in my view, would be if he bet
AGAINST his team AND/OR deliberately put a terrible lineup and pitcher out there on one or more given nights because the mob told him they needed the
Reds to lose.
And iaclonz is correct. To date, there is exactly ZERO evidence of any of that. And I don't mean that in the way Hootie keeps saying it about
Bonds--about whom there is what lawyers would call "zero direct evidence" of steroid/HGH use, but a Mount Everest of "circumstantial evidence" (which
is every bit as good in court, no matter what you hear on TV) of such use. I mean that in Rose's case, from what we've been shown so far, there is
ZERO EVIDENCE AT ALL that he conspired to lose games in either of the senses I said.
So as I said before, I think the folks at MLB should either PUT THE EVIDENCE UP NOW, or put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame NOW. Yes, he's a
grotesquely flawed person. Some day I may write a series of columns here on how many such people there are in the Hall. The only problem is, I have
to work for a living, and that series of columns will be extremely long. Not only will in not END with Cobb and Hornsby, it won't START with them,
either, because they're not even at the top of the list. (Well, maybe Hornsby is....)