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August 24, 2009

The banning of Pete Rose...20 years later

Most “where were you moments” begin and end with people talking about the Kennedy Assassination, the Moon Landing and September 11, 2001.

For me…I relate more with the “Pine Tar Incident” (July 4, 1983), “Game Six” (October 25, 1986) and when I heard Pete Rose had been made “permanently ineligible” from Major League Baseball.

Today we commemorate the day that, 20 years ago, Rose was banned by then commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.

In retrospect, things moved a lot swifter back then than they do now.

It only took five months from the time a Sports Illustrated story on Rose’s betting hit the newstands to the time when Giamatti dropped the hammer on "Charlie Hustle".

By contrast…Barry Bonds was first mentioned in the BALCO scandal in 2003 and we STILL have no clue what exactly “the cream” and “the clear” mean and what correlation they had to Bonds’ record shattering home run numbers.

So…back to Rose.

I was in high school when the news broke and the next day (a Friday), it was all the talk among my circle of friends. I remember sitting in the stands at the football game that night talking all about it.

One of us (I think it was Matt Schwartz) even speculated that Giamatti better watch his back because Rose probably had enough money to do him in.

Long before I wrote about baseball (or whatever you would call this) as a hobby (or whatever you would call this)…I submitted an editorial to the local newspaper.

They published it.

Here it is…in all it’s glory.

Rose Deserves Hall of Fame

“Pete, to me, was the greatest pure hitter of all time,” said the late baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.

Pete Rose, a pillar in baseball from the 1960s through the 1980s, was by far one of the greatest players ever. In September 1989, Rose was banished from the sport he loved by gambling.

Since then, he has been applying for his reinstatement back into baseball in order to fulfill his dream of being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Because of his crowning achievements in the baseball world, Rose should be reinstated.

Rose’s life hasn’t always been sparkling, though.

Shortly after his banishment from the majors, Rose was investigated for tax fraud. He was sentenced to five months in jail and had to pay thousands of dollars in back taxes. He served his time, and in January 1991, was released into a half-way house.

Rose had to serve 1000 hours of community service. He taught physical education at a Cincinnati junior high school. All of this went smoothly as he re-entered the world as a different man.

Except for the banishment.

Peter Edward Rose, or “Charlie Hustle” as he was known by his peers and first called by Whitey Ford, entered the majors in 1963, and ended up leaving a significant mark on the baseball world.

Rose won the Rookie of the Year Award in his inaugural season. He won three batting titles and ended his career with a batting average above .300, a very high mark to achieve over twenty-two seasons.

Rose is the all-time leader in games played, at bats and the most distinguished mark of his career, most career hits. He broke Ty Cobb’s longstanding record in 1984 with a single off Eric Show, then with the San Diego Padres.

Rose appeared in many All-Star Games and was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1973 when he hit .338.

In the late 1970s, Rose was teamed up with George Foster, Tony Perez and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench in Cincinnati, where they were known as the “Big Red Machine”. They captured six straight National League Western Division titles throughout the 70s.

Rose also hit in 44 games straight in 1978, second to only Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game streak set in 1941.

On achievements alone, Rose was one of baseball’s greatest and should be reinstated. He was an outstanding addition to baseball on and off the field.

He is a good family man and gives a lot of money to charities. Even though he was excluded from the Hall of Fame ballot, he received 41 write-in votes. Pete Rose should be re-instated and in the Hall of Fame as soon as possible.

Close to 20 years later…I still believe in what I wrote back then. Sadly, I am not sure we’ll see the day when Rose gets let back into the game.

So where were you when you heard about the banishment of Pete Rose? What are your thoughts?

Please weigh in below!

BallHype: hype it up!

1 comment:

tehuti said...

I don't recall where I was at the time. But I never imagined he would still be excluded 20 years later. Let Pete into the Hall already!