Week in baseball: reinstate Pete Rose?

By on March 6, 2003

Make no mistake about it that former Major League Commissioner and President of Yale University, A. Bartlett Giamatti, was a great man. Perhaps that’s what makes it so difficult in the case of Pete Rose possibly being reinstated and eventually making it into the Hall of Fame, because it was Giamatti who banned Rose for life, and then died 10 days later.

It wasn’t possible to not love Pete Rose as a player. In many ways, he was like the reincarnation of Ty Cobb and other old time players from a distant era when baseball was still just a game. It was easy to see Rose’s childlike enthusiasm diving in the dirt everyday, and fans loved him for it.

Rose’s actions off the field are another matter entirely. Yet, the majority of baseball fans still love him in a Hannibal Lector or Michael Corelone type way. He has become the likeable villain. Ironically, something like Cobb off the field as well.

Current Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, is seriously considering clearing Rose’s name, which would make him eligible for Hall of Fame consideration. The reason why Selig is considering doing this, is because his public image is absolutely atrocious.

It was never popular to hate the commissioner of baseball before Selig. Nobody hated past commissioners with the same enthusiasm. So what Selig wants to do, is to clear Rose’s name of wrong doing, simply to clear his own public image.

Selig hides behind this two-sided truth by saying things like, “If the majority of the public wants Rose in the Hall of Fame, then baseball should abide by what the public wants.”

Since when did the formation of a mob automatically mean their cause was right? The majority of Americans didn’t want to enter World War II during the first two years of the war, so did that mean we shouldn’t have put an end to Hitler earlier? Right is right and wrong is wrong, it doesn’t matter how many people think that wrong is right.

I want to love Rose and see him in the Hall of Fame more than anything, but if this process is going to happen and Rose be inducted, it shouldn’t happen this way. Rose shouldn’t have his name cleared because Bud Selig wants more people to like him.

What about Giamatti’s final decision? It complicates the matter so terribly that Giamatti had to die, and that the immediate stress brought on by banning Rose for life, aided by his weight and smoking problems, led to a heart attack.

I don’t know how the Rose situation should be handled, but special consideration should be given to the Giamatti family and their wishes. I ask you, the knowledgeable baseball fan, not to look past justice in favor of awesome head first dives and 4,256 career hits. Let’s just do what is right, and not make an irrational decision because of a mass of uneducated pressure.


About Andy Zides