4,256 Reasons Why Pete Rose Belongs in the Hall of Fame

Who DeyCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2008

Pete Rose is currently among a few others as being listed Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame ineligibility list.  

There is reason to believe Barry Bonds is a cheater. Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco—reason to believe those guys are all cheaters.

Pete Rose is a gambler, not a cheater.

Do not misunderstand the point. What Rose did was completely and totally wrong. As a major league manager, betting on baseball games, particularly those of your own team, is a terrible crime.

But why is putting ten-grand down on a baseball game so much worse than injecting one's body with steroids and/or human growth hormones?

Pete Rose was nicknamed "Charlie Hustle" for a reason. The guy brought the head-first slide back into baseball. He ran out every weak ground ball he ever hit. Because he was such a competitor, the guy even ran over catcher Ray Fosse in an All-Star game, causing a collision that sent Rose on the disabled list for the first, and only, time in his career.

Above all else, the "Hit King" set many records in baseball, and so many of them go unnoticed.

First and foremost, Rose holds the league record for most career hits with 4,256. Understood, today a mere hit is not as flashy as a Barry Bonds’ home run, but at one point in time, this record was one of the most cherished in the game.

The list goes on. Pete Rose has played in the most career games of any player (3,562).  He has the most career at-bats of any player (14,053).  He has the most seasons of 200+ hits (10) and is the only player in MLB history to have played in 500 games at five different positions (1B, 2B, 3B, LF, and RF.)

That is just a fraction of what Pete Rose accomplished on the baseball diamond.

How can anyone sit there and say that Pete Rose’s gambling on baseball games had anything to do with any one of those 4,256 hits?

Rose is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. I challenge you to check out everything the man accomplished in his major league career and then say he is not worthy of being in the Hall of Fame.

There are plenty of "bad guys" in the Hall of Fame, but a seemingly endless grudge against Rose by former Major League Commissioners, and current Commissioner Bud Selig, is ultimately what ended Rose's hopes of reinstatement.

If the biggest alleged cheater in sports—Barry Bonds*—is allowed in the Hall, consider it a felony if Rose is not given another chance, despite his window for making the ballot being slammed shut.

For a league that wants to even their own playing field, they should start by giving Pete Rose what he undoubtedly deserves—a trip to Cooperstown.