I have been swayed.
Last night before the Major League Baseball All Star Game, the Majors had a great idea to honor the game; they revealed the best four players of every franchise.
The host Cincinnati Reds were the last team to reveal live in front of their partisan crowd, and batting cleanup behind the triple threat of Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin was none other than Pete Rose.
A loud and raucous standing ovation ensued for this man who took voluntary exile 26 years ago, longer than some people are put in prison for taking someone’s life. Yet unless there is some major shift in baseball’s philosophy, the only way Rose will get into Cooperstown will be by purchasing a ticket.
As I said I have been swayed. Bob Costas said last fall that the Hall of Fame is a Museum for the people. The people are who baseball is for; not the writers, not the media, not the players, it’s for the fans.
The fans pay the tickets, buy the merchandise and eat the stadium food. The scribes mark the moments of the game; the fans LIVE those moments.
45 years later, Pete Rose is still remembered for running over catcher Ray Fosse at the All Star Game. The fans still talk about it as much as the media does.
Baseball has always endeavored to include the fans in the game. The fans have spoken with their votes and their hearts.
I’m not saying Pete Rose gets a Golden Ticket to the Hall of Fame; I’m saying he gets on the ballot. Give him his ten years of eligibility, and for those writers who want to keep him out of the game, stand up and be accountable.
May he who hasn’t sinned throw the first baseball…all that we’re saying…is give Pete a chance.