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Pete Rose is one of the least sympathetic public figures around, ever. He reminds me of the worst of the people I ever prosecuted. The ones who could never admit wrongdoing no matter how good, bad, or indifferent the proof was. The ones who would lie, cheat, and steal to beat the rap. The ones who could never admit responsibility.

I don't give a red rat's ass whether he's admitted into the Hall of Fame or not. He's just exactly the kind of guy I like the least. But if I were running a baseball team, he's exactly the guy I want playing 3rd base and batting cleanup. After that, I don't want to know about him. He's bad news.

Baseball, and a lot of American sports - football and basketball come to mind, and hockey and horseracing, inspire a certain amount of cheating. It becomes institutionalized as a norm. A normal amount of cheating, fighting, doping, bat-drilling, spitballing, head-throwing, spiking, holding, clipping, headbutting, interfering, unnecessary roughness, roughing the kicker, facemasking, going after the quarterback, running over the catcher, and the like, is expected. Rules are invented to prohibit these, but are routinely broken and sometimes caught and punished.

Maybe this is good training for dealing with a world seen as nasty. Payback in kind. In advance, half the time.

Maybe we shouldn't look too closely at the moral shortcomings of our stars. The ones we put on a pedestal for what they do well, like Pete Rose. Maybe we have to take the unadmirable with the admirable.

If that's the principle of admission to the HoF, then Pete gets my vote. On the field, he earned it.

Query: Why not admit these guys for what they did in baseball, and on his plaque, or HoF bio, state what else he did, so that people examining his position in the HoF get the full picture. He did this, which was great, but did this which wasn't. In other words, include his rap sheet along with his stats.

The reason for the controversy seems to be that we regard the HoF as a constellation of saints. Big mistake. Ty Cobb ought to be in HoF Hell, if you look at his rap sheet.

Yeah, I think it's a mistake if the HoF presents itself as Baseball Heaven for Baseball's saints. Rose is no saint. But neither are a few other great players I can think of, starting with my hero the Mick.

Heaven goes to the Yog' as far as I'm concerned and I'm not too sure about him.

If you want to put people in a hall because they are famous, then Rose is famous. Maybe not for all the right reasons, but he is famous in connection with baseball, good and bad. So let the jerk in. Just don't portray him as an unmitigated hero in all respects. Let him inspire for his hustle, since we admire that, and his competitiveness and skill. But even competitiveness has limits beyond which we call it cheating, roughing, doping, etc. If you mix in gambling, it smells up the ballyard even worse.

You really want to punish gentle Pete? Vote him in, posthumously.

-rs



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