It’s hard to imagine Rose not being in the Hall of Fame because he holds the record for the most hits. However, it is understandable because he admitted he bet on baseball as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. He still claims he never bet against the Reds, only for them to win.
I’m not sure I can honestly believe Rose never bet against the Reds. Just like in stock trading, Rose had the best insider information. If he knew his starting pitcher was feeling ill or his best hitter was going to get a night off, why wouldn’t he bet his money on the opposition?
But Rose’s defenders would argue that Rose had too much pride and too big of an ego to ever knowingly want to lose a game. And I will concede that point, Rose would never go down without a fight.
All anyone has to do is look at the 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati when Rose barreled over Ray Fosse. I will admit the All-Star Game at that time meant much more then it does now, even with home-field advantage in the World Series at sake. It was still just the All-Star Game, but Rose treated it like it was the seventh game of the World Series and Fosse was between him and the world championship.
Despite everything Rose accomplished on the field, it was the troubles off the field which have ultimately doomed him from being on the ballot.
Some people have tried to rationalize Rose being inducted into the Hall by having his plaque include his off-field troubles of gambling and receiving a lifetime ban from baseball by then commissioner Bart Giamatti. Even some members of the Hall of Fame like Mike Schmidt and Hank Aaron have been talking to current commissioner Bud Selig about lifting the ban and at least putting Rose’s name on the ballot.
Even if Selig decides to allow Rose to be placed on the Hall of Fame ballot, it doesn’t mean Rose would be a lock to be elected.
Baseball writers, who vote players in the Hall of Fame, are a fickle group. A writer is allowed to vote for up to 10 players each year. And if they don’t believe a player is worthy that year, then they don’t have to vote for anyone.
Believe it or not, despite record holders like Nolan Ryan, Babe Ruth, Aaron and others being enshrined, no one has ever been an unanimous selection. Tom Seaver received the highest percentage of votes in history in 1992, receiving 98.84 percent of the votes.
So if players like Seaver, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn and others aren’t receiving votes from writers, Rose will definitely be snubbed on several ballots. And writers who are on the fence about Rose being inducted can use the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Rules for Election to the Hall of Fame to keep him off their ballot. Rule five states, “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”
No one can argue about Rose’s record as a player helping the Reds and the Phillies to World Series titles. Rose’s playing ability earned him the nickname “Charlie Hustle.” Rose never did anything half-speed. Rose didn’t jog to first base after drawing a walk, he sprinted there. Rose didn’t slide into bases, he dove head-first.
Rose got everything he could from his talent and ability, but voters can use the “integrity, sportsmanship and character” issues to conveniently leave Rose off the ballot.
If Selig decides to put Rose’s name on the ballot and I had a vote for the Hall of Fame, I would find it difficult to not vote to put him in. Rose’s accomplishments deserve to be honored, but in the end, Rose would not receive my vote.
Contact sports editor Shawn Stinson at 997-3111, ext. 14; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org