Pete Rose: Hall of Fame or Wall of Shame?

Pete Rose is the all-time Major League leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), and outs (10,328). A three-time World Series winner along with three batting titles, one MVP, two Gold Gloves, Rookie of the Year, and an incredible 18-time All-Star; is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. Considered to be one of the biggest debates in all of baseball, Pete Rose was banned from baseball in 1989 on accusations that he was gambling on baseball games when he was playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds. Although accused of and never proven, many people at the time believed he bet on games he was a part of, which wiould have a significant impact on the results of the game since he played and managed the team. Two years later, the executives of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown had voted to ban those on the “permanently ineligible” list from being able to be inducted into the Hall. Although they had followed this rule before, more as an “unwritten rule,” they believed that Rose’s premier status as a player had forced them to take action. Rose is the only person that is alive on the “permanently ineligible” list, making people believe that he was the sole reason why the Hall implemented this rule.

In 2004, after years of public denial, Rose admitted to betting on baseball. In his autobiography My Prison Without Bars, Rose admitted that he also bet on the Reds, but never against them. Betting records had shown that Rose was telling the truth and never betted against his team. So from an ethical standpoint, how do you view Pete Rose? As an athlete, he was one of the best ever to play the game. He had a long career and broke many records. I respect him as an athlete and as player-manager, that is even more impressive. I’ve gambled before, on cards, on games, but I’ve never had the opportunity to bet on one of my games because I’ve never played on that kind of level. Yes, he bet on baseball and on his team, but never against his team where he could control the odds. By betting on his team, it changed nothing. He managed his team to win every game, so since he bet on his own team, he was still pushing to win, maybe even harder. With that, he had a duty to his team to win as much as possible, which is what you want in a player and a manager. As long as he never bet against his team, I can’t see him at fault. I feel with Pete Rose, he will one day make it into the Hall of Fame. Guaranteed first ballot once reinstated, but unfortunately, I feel he won’t be reinstated until after his death, which is a shame.

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9 thoughts on “Pete Rose: Hall of Fame or Wall of Shame?

  1. I agree with you as I believe that betting on your own team is the same as buying stock in your own company. Of course you would work that little bit harder so that hopefully at the end of the day you could come out on top both for your team and for your bank account.

  2. Betting in your own sport is a touchy subject, but if you never bet against your own team, some people (including myself) could see it as pretty harmless. Hell, I view it as added incentive. It’s almost like the childhood days when your parents would give you 5 dollars if you scored a goal (that was short lived though, especially when I began to excel in the sport). He only bet on other games and never against his team so where is the harm? I think it would only incentivize him to play harder and better….financial Gatorade if you will. Although I do agree betting in sports can get out of hand and be very unethical, I feel as though his actions (or at least what we know about them) were not that drastic. It seems harsh to keep him out of the HOF for these actions, especially considering how good of a player he really was.

  3. I completely agree with both comments thus far. More importantly there are already many other Baseball players who have done worse and are in the Hall of Fame. One example is Jimmy “Pud” Galvin – who had taken steroids and is in the Hall of Fame. All that Pete Rose did is gamble on his own team to win. More details on Gallvin’s steroid use is disclosed in this article: Check it out.

  4. I think that it is crazy that baseball players who have been accused of taking steroids are on the ballot for the Hall of Fame, but yet Rose is banned for gambling. Betting on sports is a touchy subject, but I do not really see a problem since he always bet on his team to win. It is just an incentive to win. It is not like he bet again the Reds and threw the games. I agree with you Jackson that I do not think he is at fault. It is sad that he will never make it into the Hall of Fame. On another note, my team went on Spring Break in Vegas and one of the coach’s met Rose. Pete Rose is getting paid 1 million per year to sign autographs at one of the hotel’s on the strip for four hours three days a week. So he isn’t do too bad right now.

  5. This is one of my favorite debates because I love to gamble and I love Pete Rose. That being said, making the argument that he should be in because other players have done worse things and gotten in bothers me. The fact is that Pete Rose knowingly did something illegal that he knew would put his Hall of Fame chances in jeopardy if he was caught. Just because someone else has committed a more violent crime does not excuse you from stealing from your local CVS or another “lesser crime.”

  6. I agree that betting FOR your team vs. AGAINST it isn’t as unethical as the contrary. However, I still don’t think it’s permissible for a professional athlete for one main reason. Pete Rose, like you said, was a player and a manager (which I didn’t know until reading this — how rare is that!?), so he had SO much more information regarding his opponents, ballparks, lineups, injuries, etc. So isn’t this knowledge — a lot of which is only available because of experience and role as manager/player — unfair to the other people betting on the game who aren’t in a similar position?

  7. You can probably set up an ethical debate of consequentialism (he did not do anything that bad) versus deontology (he has a duty to never bet on outcomes…).

    The case is interesting at least from this angle as it delves into some pretty fine-grained facts.

    Also, just from an information perspective- how good are the betting records?

    What kinds of other folks are permanently ineligible?

  8. Pingback: Pete Rose is a famous former Major League Baseball player and manager


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