Mike Downey's exhortation for us not to "hate Pete Rose" overlooks a crucial point, and comes as a surprise from someone who downright demanded us not to take the game so seriously when last year's earthquake interrupted the World Series.
We must remember that baseball is basically a game invented for children, and the child in all of us. Some great players have been great men, while others have been boys who have never grown up. A great player's fame must be sealed by his accomplishments on the field alone. He shouldn't have to rely on the Hall of Fame to secure a lasting memory of his outstanding skills. The Hall of Fame is a symbolic gesture, extended by society, to share in that player's glory.
More importantly, it serves as a museum for kids. Inducting an ex-con would be placing the game above higher values. It would be a weak message to send future generations.