Pete Rose: Debate Worthy, But Not That Debate

July 27, 2011 by TheUmpire

Pete Rose’s lifetime ban for breaking the rules of baseball is justified – and not subject to debate – according to Dominic Genetti over at the Hannibal Courier-Post:

You break the rules of baseball and you get kicked out, it’s as simple as that.

I don’t care if you’re the all-time hits leader, all it takes is one screw up and you’re done. Rose did exactly that and he deserves exactly what he got.

Whilst technically correct as per MLB rule 21(d) and the findings of the Dowd Report, Genetti presents less-than-compelling logic for his stance in general (“There’s no time or room in baseball for cheaters…”) and a baffling conclusion regarding Pete Rose in particular:

…[I]f you’re still not convinced that Rose shouldn’t be in the hall, consider the fact that his son got into some trouble of his own in the minor leagues when he was caught distributing drugs to players.

*Scooby-doo head shake*

Rather than closing the debate, perhaps we should use this as a chance to question whether the punishment reasonably fits the crime.  Arguably more damaging actions (e.g., drug use) result in only limited suspensions, whereas Rose is banned for life – not for throwing games – but for betting on games (sometimes for his team to win).  Clearly some sort of penalty is appropriate, but a lifetime ban for this infraction seems arbitrarily harsh in comparison.

At any rate, the main debate surrounding Pete Rose shouldn’t center around his eligibility for election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but rather whether his stats are even good enough to get him in.  I suggest that his avgWAR of 3.42 is not good enough for induction.  Enshrine the bat that slapped the record 4256th hit, sure…but Pete Rose himself is not worthy of a plaque in Cooperstown.

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  1. “…Pete Rose himself is not worthy of a plaque in Cooperstown.”

    I beg to differ. Sorry, Mr. Umpire.
    career .303 BA
    3 batting titles
    7 time leading the league in hits
    10 top 10 MVP vote, including one MVP.
    Number 9 all-time in runs created.
    All time hits leader – 4,256 hits. That’s 200 hits a year for 20 years and you still have 256 to go.

    Career WAR of 75.3, including a season of 8.5.

    Roberto Alomar just got in the hall with less – less hits, less BA, lower WAR, less times leading the league in anything. Better defender, I’ll grant you that.

    I’m not a Pete Rose fan as you know, but I do believe he belongs in the hall of fame.

    Comment by TommyT — Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 1:54 PM

  2. That’s the beauty of avgWAR: it allows one to see through falsely “gaudy” longevity numbers.

    Roberto Alomar’s 4.32 avgWAR makes him somewhat more worthy than Pete Rose, but I have been toying with the idea that no position player with an avgWAR less than 5.00 should be in the Hall.

    Rose had a few really good seasons, but overall he wouldn’t make it into the BBI Hall of Fame.

    Comment by TheUmpire — Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 5:03 PM

  3. If I had to pick an all-time All Star team, I’d want Pete Rose as my lead-off hitter.

    Comment by Anonymous — Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 3:41 PM

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