Volume 93, Issue 32

Wednesday, October 27, 1999


SPORTS

Tennis coach considers leaving

Hockey stars shine with 2-0 start

Zero tie solves nothing

Rose deserves a place in the sun

Mustangs destroy RMC

Rose deserves a place in the sun



The controversial debate over whether Pete Rose, the all-time major league hit leader, should be elected into the baseball Hall of Fame was refueled this weekend with his election to the All-Century Team.

The balloting, conducted this summer by fans nationwide, was made up almost entirely of Hall of Famers. All-time leaders in all sorts of categories enjoyed the spotlight one more time, before game two of the World Series.

Oddly enough the man who garnered more hits than anyone in the game was showered with applause on the field, but later pelted with accusations by an NBC interviewer over the gambling allegations which have forever tarnished his name.

Baseball's powers-that-be banned Rose from the Hall of Fame for allegedly betting on baseball games played by the team he was managing at the time – the Cincinnati Reds. These charges have never been substantiated and Rose has steadfastly denied them at every opportunity. How can he be punished for a crime which has never been proven?

Why then, in a nationally televised broadcast after the selection proceedings, did NBC reporter Jim Gray ask Rose repeatedly to admit his guilt? By refusing to admit to something he has maintained never happened, Rose must surely be guilty.

What?!?

Since the precedent has been set for making unsubstantiated charges, let's talk about the real reason Rose will never get to give an acceptance speech at Cooperstown.

Throughout his professional career and private life, Rose never conformed to the ideal of a Hall of Famer. Never graceful or charming, Rose played the game like a bat out of hell, motoring his stump-like body around the bases not with God-given speed, but by sheer force of will. He was boastful rather than humble, belligerent rather than respectful. Let's face it – he was a real jerk.

In spite of all this, Rose could play the game. His mile long stat sheet shows countless major league records, aside from his never-to-be-toppled standing as all-time hit leader.

What the powers governing baseball have to decide upon is what the election criteria for the Hall is going to be – performance or character?

If the latter is the basis for election, then how does one justify selections like Mickey Mantle, who was more renowned for his alcoholic statistics than his batting ones? And what about the choice of Ty Cobb, who added the first brutal beating of a handicapped heckler to major league history, aside from his countless batting records? Sure, they were great players, but were they good enough people to be classified as Hall of Famers?

If election is guaranteed by sheer statistics, however, then 4,256 hits, numerous batting titles, Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and World Series MVP awards should all but stamp Rose's name on his plaque.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999