Mark Clark: Pete says he is totally over the Hall of Fame

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If you watched the FOX Business channel last week, you may have seen Major League Baseball’s greatest hitter of all-time Pete Rose on Stuart Varney’s show. He was there to promote his new book, “Play Hungry: The Making of a Baseball Player.” 

And, Pete told Varney that he is totally over the Hall of Fame.

That comment came in response to a question Varney asked. He asked whether Pete was angry about not being inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Pete responded, “No, I’m not angry. Why would I be angry? I’m the one who screwed up.”

Yes, Pete Rose admitted he made the mistakes that prevent him from being inducted into the Hall of Fame. He has given up hope of being inducted while he is alive. He has not totally given up on being inducted after his death.

“Will you eventually get into the Hall of Fame?” Varney asked.

“I don’t think I will while I’m alive, Pete answered.

Pete continued his statement to Varney saying, “I’m not going to get on your show and complain about not being in Cooperstown, but I’m the one to mess it up and I’m willing to go on with it.”

“Charlie Hustle” was banned from Cooperstown back in 1989 after making bets on games while he played and managed the Cincinnati Reds. In 1991, the Hall of Fame ruled that a banned person was not eligible to be inducted.

As I have said before, the Hall of Fame is for players and managers who reached the highest level of achievement while in Major League Baseball. It is not a reward for being a good person. If that were the case, there are many players who would never have been inducted – Ty Cobb for example. So, do not induct Pete Rose as a good person. Put him in the Hall of Fame for his body of work as a player.

Pete was the Rookie of the Year in 1963 and went on to be the greatest hitter of all-time with 4,252 hits. No one else is even close to that number and hopefully, no one ever will be. He was a 17-time All-Star and Most Valuable Player of a World Series team – one of three he played on during his career. He won two with the Cincinnati Reds and one with the Philadelphia Phillies. He also played for the Montreal Expos during his career.

While Pete may never be allowed into the Hall of Fame for Major League Baseball, he was inducted into the Cincinnati Hall of Fame. It is the Hall of Fame for the city he grew up in only three miles from where he played for most of his career. He is proud of that achievement.

“Because I am from Cincinnati, like I said, I made their Hall of Fame. I got my number retired – OK – I get in the Hall of Fame and I got a statue and it’s more important to me because it is my hometown. I was raised three miles from where I played in Cincinnati, Ohio. And, by the way, they played baseball today on the street called Pete Rose Way, but yet I’m not allowed to go in the clubhouse or in the batting cage,” Pete said.

Not too many years ago, Major League Baseball named its All-Century Team and introduced the players at the All-Star Game at the time. Pete Rose was a member of the team. Thank goodness, Pete Rose was allowed to participate in the event. Give Bud Selig credit for doing that. He should have taken the opportunity to forgive Pete Rose of his transgressions and welcomed him back into the baseball family. Pete Rose has paid the price for his mistakes. Selig should have forgiven Shoeless Joe Jackson at the same time as well. Both of the players should be in the baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.

I know many of you feel differently. You think the players should be forever banned from Cooperstown. You feel their wrongs far outweigh their achievements. We disagree, but you have the right to your opinion and I have the right to mine.

There is no way you can justify the greatest hitter of all-time not being in the Hall of Fame. It cheapens the Hall of Fame for the rest of the players who have been inducted when the best of the best is excluded. So, put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. Make a new wing at Cooperstown to use for the induction of players who were banned from the sport for a period of time. Only people interested in these players would tour this portion of the building. It does not need to be a large wing. It can be a closet that has one member – Pete Rose. But, let him in before he dies. He deserves to be there.

It is the right thing to do. Even if you do not think he is a good person. He was one heck of a baseball player – one that no one has equaled.

Mark Clark is a local sports writer for 

The Citizen of East Alabama.