Will newly relaxed attitudes towards sports betting in the US mean Major League Baseball legend Pete Rose will finally get in the National Baseball Hall of Fame? Perhaps it should.
The May 14, 2018 US Supreme Court decision declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional opened the door for all 50 states to launch legal sports betting. Since then, Delaware and New Jersey have done so, opening up legal and regulated sports betting operations at local racetracks and casinos.
Pennsylvania has opened up the licensing application process. Plus, several other states are considering doing the same. One such state is Ohio, the very state where Rose’s Big Red Machine dominated baseball’s National League throughout the 1970s.
The legendary “Charlie Hustle”
Rose, nicknamed Charlie Hustle for his epic work ethic, was a star on those Cincinnati Reds teams. He helped them win back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976, collecting World Series MVP honors the first year.
A native of Cincinnati, Rose was named NL Rookie of the Year with the team in 1963 and NL MVP in 1973.
He moved on to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1979 and won the 1980 World Series with that team. Finally, Rose played a year with the Montreal Expos before closing out his playing career as a player-manager with the Cincinnati Reds for two more years. Rose went on to manage the Reds for three more years after retiring as a player in 1986.
Over his 24-year career as a player, Rose was a .303 hitter and he still holds MLB records for:
- Hits (4,256)
- Singles (3,215)
- Games played (3,562)
- At-bats (14,053)
There isn’t a player on the planet more qualified for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Rose remains ineligible.
Pete Rose banned from baseball
In 1989, amid allegations he bet on games while playing for and managing the Reds, Rose was declared permanently ineligible from baseball.
Rose would have become eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1992. However, a year earlier, the board voted to prevent permanently ineligible players from induction.
Of course, Rose didn’t help matters. He spent almost two decades denying allegations he bet on baseball until finally admitting it in 2004. In 2015, an ESPN investigation may have made things even worse for Rose’s cause. It revealed records confirming he made bets on games involving the Reds while still acting as the team’s player-manager.
Over the years, Rose has continued to petition for reinstatement to get himself into the hall. But even up to 2016, the answer from the National Baseball Hall of Fame has been a resounding no.
National Baseball Hall of Fame stands firm
In December of that year, the Hall’s board of directors upheld its ruling that anyone deemed permanently ineligible by Major League Baseball, including Rose, may not be considered for election.
Earlier in 2016, the Cincinnati Reds finally gave Rose some relief, inducting him into the team’s own Reds Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony at Great American Ball Park focused on his accomplishments as a player. Only a few whispers were heard about betting on baseball and Rose’ National Baseball Hall of Fame eligibility.
He’s now 77 years old, and with the attitude towards betting on sports rapidly softening in the US, there are those who think its time the National Baseball Hall of Fame reconsider.
Pete Rose trends on Twitter
In fact, the same day the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, The Cincinnati Enquirer ran a story about the many people taking to social media to ask what the decision might mean for Rose. There were so many, the topic Pete Rose started trending on Twitter.
Opinions ranged. There were those who thought the decision meant Rose was now in. There were others who felt giving states the right to legalize sports betting was far different than the MLB suddenly giving the OK for players and managers to bet on games.
For its part, MLB issued a statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling. It claimed sports betting will have profound effect on the game, and the league’s priority remains the integrity of baseball.
Inducting Rose into the Hall of Fame, now more than 30 years after he was banned from baseball, won’t have anywhere near the same effect on the game or its integrity. The Supreme Court decision has provided the perfect timing to show that.
The league and the National Baseball Hall of Fame need to finally get with the times. Together, they need to realize the public’s view of sports betting, and even Rose’s involvement in it, has softened. That way, Charlie Hustle can finally get the recognition he deserves as one of the game’s all-time greats.
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