The Hall isn’t a shrine to saints; it’s a museum, obligated to tell the history of the game.
Two weeks ago, ESPN’s Outside the Lines released documents that prove what Dowd had always suspected but never had the written evidence to support: Rose bet on baseball while he was still an active player.
Baseball Rule 21 (d) is posted in every Major League clubhouse. Every player and manager is required to acknowledge the rule in writing prior to the beginning of the season. It reads in part:
BETTING ON BALL GAMES…Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.
Rose acknowledged the rule at least 27 times, 21 years as a player, three years as a player/manager and three years as a manager. He has admitted betting on Reds games while managing, an admission that warrants permanent ineligibility. Now, there’s no doubt that he also bet on games while playing. Therefore, he should never be reinstated. End of discussion.
But eligibility for the Hall of Fame is an entirely different issue. The Hall claims to operate independently of MLB but that assertion is almost as ludicrous as Rose’s declaration that he never bet on baseball. The Hall and MLB are intertwined in a number of ways, including through its board members and voting committees. The Hall’s Board includes current MLB owners, former executives and players and even the current MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred. Independent? Hardly.
While reinstatement and Hall eligibility could – and should – be separate issues, don’t hold your breath that they ever will be. The former relates to the harm visited on the game, the latter to one’s performance on the field of play. Rose accumulated 4,256 hits, the most in MLB history. He is a former Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. How can you have a Hall that selectively excludes certain milestone accomplishments in the sport? Rose was known as Charlie Hustle for his love of the game, a fact no one can deny. He just loved gambling more.
In March, Rose filed a second petition for reinstatement with Manfred. While the new commissioner has expressed independence from his predecessor and mentor on a number of issues, Rose’s reinstatement took a fatal hit with the new revelations. That’s as it should be. But the Hall isn’t a shrine to saints; it’s a museum, obligated to tell the history of the game.
If they want to, the Hall can include Rose’s complete history – the good, the bad and the ugly. Just don’t pretend none of it happened. By doing so, the Hall is being just as disingenuous as the person they’re intent on keeping out.
Jordan Kobritz is a former attorney, CPA, and Minor League Baseball team owner. He is a Professor in the Sport Management Department at SUNY Cortland and maintains the blog: http://sportsbeyondthelines.com Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.© Copyright 2015 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed