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Steroids will hustle Rose into Hall of Fame

Selig mulling decision to lift ban amid controversies

July 27, 2009
By B.J. LISKO, Salem News Sports Editor

Steroids will eventually get Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame.

With players continually getting caught juicing, including arguably the sports' best players, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez, commissioner Bud Selig is mulling a decision to lift Rose's lifetime suspension from baseball.

At Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the very deserving Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice, some of the sports' most influential Hall of Famers including Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Joe Morgan are lobbying behind the scenes for the Major League Baseball's all-time hit leader.

It's interesting that it comes at a time when baseball's attendance is at an all-time low, and when numerous marquee players have been caught for using steroids with no foreseeable end in sight.

A lot of people are done with baseball. They're tired of the lies. They're tired of the scandal. They're done.

The general consensus in the court of public opinion is the Rose should be in the Hall. The general consensus is also that Rose is an idiot.

I agree on both counts. Rose didn't help his cause five years ago when after years of denials that he bet on baseball he finally admitted it in a book in what was an obvious effort to make some coin.

He isn't a saint - not by any means. But when you're dealing with the Hall of Fame you're talking about on-field accomplishments, not whether players are good guys. Ty Cobb was a womanizing, alcoholic scoundrel. Babe Ruth wasn't much better off the field. They're both in the Hall.

Yes, Rose bet on baseball. He bet on his own team. He bet on his own team to win. He wasn't throwing games from the dugout. He was filling out betting slips, yes, but as a die-hard Cincinnati Reds fan to this very day I can tell you Rose was putting his best foot forward as a manager. He was putting the best players on the field, making the best decisions possible when it came to the game.

No one caught juicing should ever be in the Hall of Fame. But what do you do with guys like Manny and A-Rod once they retire having been caught using steroids during their career? They already have Hall of Fame numbers. Mark my words, someone will eventually get inducted into the Hall and they will find out later that they juiced after the fact. Some might even get in despite being caught.

Pete Rose bet on baseball. He didn't juice. He didn't cheat. He played his heart out. He left it all on the field. 4,256 hits, a lifetime .303 batting average, three World Series rings - the numbers speak for themselves. He wasn't called "Charlie Hustle" for nothing.

We're not talking about the good guy awards here, we're talking about the baseball Hall of Fame.

Selig would reinstate Rose not because he necessarily agrees with it, but because it's the popular thing to do. At a time when baseball is dripping with deceit, that deceit will eventually pave the way for Rose to punch his ticket to Cooperstown.

Baseball is a tainted sport. What's sad is that eventually America's national pastime will become so corrupt that fans won't even care who did what. They'll be so conditioned to it, it won't matter.

But for now, while people still care, can we please make sure that deserving players get into the Hall? Rose is undoubtedly deserving.

E-mail B.J. Lisko at bjlisko@salemnews.net

 
 
 

 

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