Rose's Thorn

Kyle Riviere
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere.

There’s a reason why Pete Rose was nicknamed “Charlie Hustle” during his amazing career with the Reds. He never slowed down; he never quit. It was always full-speed ahead for him, but no matter how hard he hustles, it looks like he’ll never reach the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Last week, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred denied Rose’s request for reinstatement—keeping him ineligible for the hall.

Manfred released this statement on the matter: “Mr. Rose’s public and private comments, including his initial admission in 2004, provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct, that he has accepted full responsibility for it, or that he understands the damage he caused.”

The 74-year-old Rose was given a lifetime ban from MLB back in August of 1989, when it was discovered that he was betting on baseball while he was a manager for the Reds.

The situation with Rose is one of the most polarizing in sports. There are legions of fans on each side of the fence. Each argument is a good one.

On one hand, it’s still rather mind-boggling that Rose isn’t in the Hall of Fame. He only happens to be one of the greatest baseball players that ever lived. Just take a look at the things he accomplished in his illustrious career.

He was a 17-time All-Star. He was a three-time World Series champion—which included a series MVP award in 1975.

Rose was the 1963 National League Rookie of the Year and the 1973 NL MVP. He was a two-time Gold Glove winner and a three-time NL batting champion.

And of course, he holds MLB records for most hits (4,256), most games played (3,562), most at-bats (14,053) and most singles (3,215).

Rose also made a significant run at Joe DiMaggio’s record of 56 straight games with a hit. Back in 1978, Rose had a streak of 44 games with a hit until it finally came to an end against the Braves.

It’s hard to see a guy that was responsible for that much greatness not have his name in Cooperstown.

It becomes even harder to digest when you consider the fact that Rose attained these accomplishments the right way. This was before the “Steroids Era” shook baseball and created false heroes like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

From Roger Clemmons, to Rafael Palmeiro, to Alex Rodriguez, there have been plenty of black eyes to go around.

Rose’s sin of gambling is much more forgivable for fans. Why? Because we know what he did on the field was real. His accomplishments were not achieved on the strength of performance enhancers.

There are players in the Hall of Fame that were shady characters to say the least. Ty Cobb was a notorious racist that once attacked a handicapped man.

I would like to see Rose in the Hall of Fame, but at the same time, it’s hard for me to second guess the decision of Manfred. Rose really doesn’t have anyone to blame but himself when it comes to his current predicament.

The MLB rules clearly state that you cannot bet on baseball—even if you are not betting on your own team. If you do, you will be declared permanently ineligible. Rose knew the rules, and he broke them. Now, he has to pay the heavy price.

Things might have been different if he had a better reaction during the aftermath. If he immediately owned up to what he did, showed real contrition and apologized, he might have already been reinstated years ago, but that never happened.

Instead, we were subjected to 15 years of lies. As in most instances, the coverup is worse than the actual crime.

Finally, in 2004, Rose admitted to betting on baseball. However, it was so embarrassingly obvious why he suddenly had the change of heart. He had a new tell-all book about to hit the shelves.

His autobiography, “My Prison Without Bars,” addressed the situation, something he had failed to do for more than a decade.

That convenient timing of his admission made it hard for many to forgive him or to buy that he has any remorse for his actions from 1989.

Maybe one day, MLB will finally give Rose a reprieve and reinstate him. Until then, he‘ll just have to lie in the bed that he made for himself.