A ROSE By Any Other Name?
Will “Charlie Hustle” Miss His Final Chance? – By Randy Smith
— Can Pete Rose Best The Baseball Hall of Fame?
Just this week, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred upheld the lifetime ban from baseball on Pete Rose. Rose and many others felt that Manfred would be more apt to lift the ban, since he had been in office a little more than a year. It didn’t happen. Manfred refused to believe that Rose had changed his lifestyle, as he continued to gamble.
“Mr. Rose’s public and private comments including his initial admission in 2004 provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct.”
Those comments came from a letter from the Commissioner to Pete Rose, informing him of Manfred’s decision.
Someone told me yesterday that Rose may eventually make the Hall of Fame, but it won’t be until long after his death. That is probably not going to happen either; just look at “Shoeless Joe” Jackson. He was banned from baseball almost 100 years ago, and he is still banned. And there is a lot less evidence on him than there is on Rose. Though I have fully supported Pete Rose in his attempts to lift his ban, I now realize that Rob Manfred may have been his final opportunity.
Major League Baseball is unique in that the two biggest record holders in the game’s history aren’t in the Hall of Fame and likely never will be. Pete Rose, the all-time hit king and Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader. Though Bonds hasn’t officially been banned from baseball, he will never get enough votes to make the Hall of Fame. Neither will three of the other top home run hitters; Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Raphael Palmero. Their gaudy numbers will always be tainted by the use of steroids and growth hormones, as will one of the top pitchers of all-time, Roger Clemens. The National Football League and the National Basketball Association have never had a problem like this. Though neither league is free from bad people, they don’t seem to have the same problems; or is it they look the other way?
There is no way on earth you can convince me that the use of steroids in baseball has been much worse than the NFL. Players can be punished for using steroids but few if any have been banned for the game for life. Like Rose, players in all sports have bet on games. Most haven’t been caught, but Pete Rose was guilty of betting on baseball games, including his own games when he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. In 2004 he admitted he bet on those games and asked for forgiveness. While waiting for the last ten years or so for someone to lift his ban, he continued to bet on baseball. He also continued to bet on anything; horses, football, you name it, and Pete Rose likely bet on it. Thus Rob Manfred decided to keep the ban on Pete because he obviously still hasn’t learned his lesson.
One of my friends whom I have a lot of respect for, ran into Pete Rose in Las Vegas several years ago, long after he was banned from baseball. He carried wads of cash around in his hands, and went from table to table making bets. After a while my friend determined, “This guy is a bad man.” So, I feel sorry for Pete Rose. Not because of his ban from baseball; he deserves that. But I feel sorry for him because he still hasn’t realized he’s done anything wrong.
Randy Smith … has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.
His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.
He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.
In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in the area. They have two married children, four grandchildren.
As reported in: The Chattanoogan
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