Pete Rose: Debate Worthy, But Not That Debate
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.
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.