After reading Bill Plaschke's Aug. 8 column on Pete Rose, I must say I disagree on several points. While Rose's actions as a manager have been questionable, and do rate his being banned from baseball, what he did as a player is all that should count in his being admitted to the Hall of Fame. He was the greatest player in the last 50 years, and it's a travesty that he is not in the Hall of Fame, when people such as Roberto Alomar (who should have been banned for life for the spitting incident) and Cal Ripken (who did little more than show up every day) are mentioned as the next generation of hall of famers.
If these whiny punks belong, then Pete Rose certainly belongs there too. It almost seems as though guys like Plaschke have a personal grudge against Rose. With all the crybaby, millionaire slouches polluting baseball these days, Rose is, and always was, a breath of fresh air in an otherwise putrid sport. I haven't been to a game since the early '80s, and do not plan on ever attending another game as long as I live. A large reason for that is that baseball no longer has players like Rose.
The only "hustle" going on is the pathetic double standard followed by major league baseball. Evidently, betting on the sport is grounds for a lifetime ban--but pack your nose with cocaine before you go out and play and, well, shame on you. Don't do it anymore. But if you do, we'll welcome you back. Again and again and again.
The only difference? Rose's playing days were over by the time he was banished; most drugged-out athletes still have a home run or two inside them. So long as you have value, baseball will embrace you.
As a father, I don't want my son to take up either habit. Given a choice, though, I'd pick gambling over drugs any day, as would most people. You want an end to this "hustle"? Put Rose in the Hall of Fame, where he belongs, and start banishing players whose vices truly do affect the game.
I agree wholeheartedly that Pete Rose and his less-than-candid attempts to whitewash his past have grown tiresome. I do disagree with Plaschke, though, when he states that Rose was "perhaps the greatest hitter in baseball history." That's ludicrous. His lifetime batting average, slugging and on-base percentages do not make the top 100. Even adjusting for the time he played, his strongest area, batting average, ranks only 56th. He was very good, good enough for the Hall of Fame. But let's lay off this greatest stuff when it comes to merely good players.
\o7 Canoga Park
Despite Pete Rose's denials that he bet on baseball games, the supporting evidence contained in the Dowd report is staggering: eyewitness accounts, photocopies of betting slips from bookies, even Rose's own testimony in the closed-door meeting with then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti.
But ever since Giamatti's death, Rose has engaged in a transparent attempt at revisionist history, shamelessly trying to trick baseball fans into believing that none of this ever happened. By appealing to the public's sense of Populist justice, their memories of his glorious days as a player, and a natural tendency to mistrust bureaucracies (in this case, the baseball establishment), Pete's hoping that public sentiment will prove more powerful than the integrity of the game.
Sorry, Charlie. That "hustle" won't work.
\o7 Rowland Heights
The powers that be within baseball should be ashamed of themselves.
They have allowed players with known cocaine habits to return again and again to play baseball, yet Pete Rose, who did gamble but never bet on himself or his team, never shaved points and never took part in throwing a game, is still kept from being elected to the Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame has lost its luster just as the Olympics have lost the meaning they once had. Add to this the PGA with its stupid, ancient rules and you've got sports not as they were meant to be but rather as big business wants them to be.
It's a sad commentary on our times and the lack of feeling for the common folk that makes our heroes into nothing more than newspaper fodder.
\o7 Laguna Woods