Via Media

Via Media

I confess

…that in my ignorance about the protocol, criterea and standards on such matters, I am deeply puzzled by the news that now that Pete Rose has admitted that he has been lying for fifteen years, he is now suitable material for the Hall of Fame.


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posted January 6, 2004 at 7:06 am

Can’t say I understand it myself, but it may be roughly analogous to the notion of a lifelong sinner having access to heaven through a sincere act of contrition. Or maybe not.

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posted January 6, 2004 at 8:23 am

Jim, that sounds about right (although the sincerity of the contrition in this case is…questionable).

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Catherine of Alexandria

posted January 6, 2004 at 8:35 am

Baseball players have a fifteen year window of opportunity for election into the Hall of Fame, beginning five years after their retirement. Mr. Rose is in his fourteenth year and getting desperate. The suspicion is that “Charlie Hustle” [a nickname whose definition has certainly evolved over the years] is making a last ditch effort to entice Major League Baseball to lift his present excommunication. His understanding evidently has been that his failure to fess up to gambling on baseball games that he personally managed has been the main reason the absolution has been denied for fourteen years. The ticking clock, plus the release of his new book, suggest that contrition here is at best imperfect. The good news for Rose is that the “bishop” with the power of the keys, Commissioner Bud Selig, is known to baseball observers as Bud-Lite.

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posted January 6, 2004 at 9:17 am

Isn’t there a great thirst to hear someone tell the truth? The baseball gods wanted to hear Pete confess so bad they probably offered him the Hall of Fame in exchange for a confession. They – and everyone – knew Pete bet on baseball. I’m sure the OJ Simpson prosecuters would get a great deal of satisfaction out of hearing OJ confess. Steroids have ruined the game far more than Pete, making a shambles of the record books.

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RP Burke

posted January 6, 2004 at 9:46 am

We can “forgive” Pete Rose for betting on his own sport, but can we “forget” that he did?
Big difference.

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Patrick Sweeney

posted January 6, 2004 at 10:11 am

Pete Rose’s “confession” should include all the lies, threats, and 14 years of slander of Bart Giamatti, and basically everyone who presented to him evidence of his gambling. He wasn’t merely a liar, but an especially agressive one in defending himself from the accusations of lying about gambling, while accusing others of lying about him.
The time and place and limitations of his statements are strategic: to maximize his revenue from the book and to gain sympathy in his time which remains for the sports writers to put him into the Hall of Fame.
I didn’t trust him then and I don’t trust him now.
Selig can’t put him into the Hall of Fame, only make him eligible. I don’t think the confession is a quid pro quo, only a act of desparation.

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posted January 6, 2004 at 1:08 pm

Interestingly, Pete admitted that he was only interested in “confessing” (if that’s what you want to call it) to some one who would help him get re-instated. Fay Vincent was on ESPN radio yesterday saying it doesn’t change a thing, only confirms what he already knew. As another poster said, Bud is likely to make Pete eligible for HoF for public relations reasons. He can be forgiven, but that doesn’t mean he has to be let into the HoF. I hear that most sports writers will say yes unequivocally, but players would say no way (if they have a say?). Vincent made the point that baseball has some sort of character clause, but f-ball and basketball don’t, thus, the Lawrence Taylor problem. Pete doesn’t belong in any hall of honor. He traded away his honor for monetary gains in gambling.

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posted January 6, 2004 at 4:29 pm

If they made a new category for reformed sinners in their Hall of Fame, he could be number one?

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Christopher Rake

posted January 6, 2004 at 5:32 pm

As indicated above, the notion that he will be or should be reinstated is far from universal. The classic quote from today is:
I’m sure that I’m supposed to act all sorry or sad or guilty now that I’ve accepted that I’ve done something wrong. But you see, I’m just not built that way,” wrote Rose. “So let’s leave it like this: I’m sorry it happened and I’m sorry for all the people, fans and family it hurt. Let’s move on.”
I think I read in the Washington Times today that baseball commissioner Bud Selig wanted to call a meeting of retired baseball players to gauge support for reinstating him. These guys serve on a committee that considers players who missed the 20-year window. The story said the meeting was canceled and surmised it was because there was no interest.

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posted January 6, 2004 at 7:38 pm

I have to say that as long as vicious racists like Cap Anson and Ty Cobb (and more genteel ones like Kennesaw Mountain Landis) are in the HoF, I don’t think good character can reasonably be called a requirement for membership.

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Mike Petrik

posted January 6, 2004 at 11:09 pm

I think you miss the point. The HOF test does not include an evaluation of personal character. It does assess behavior that goes to the integrity of the game, however. Betting on games that one is managing is certainly not as reprehensible as bigotry, just like cheating on baseball is not as bad as cheating on one’s wife. But the HOF is not subject to the standards of heaven. Nor should it be.

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Patrick Sweeney

posted January 6, 2004 at 11:41 pm

Michael: ahh… the “ratchet effect”… once a poor moral judgement is made in one context there can never be any reasserting of standards of conduct in that context.
Betting on the games is not merely a matter of “good character” but a challenge to the integrity of the game. Perhaps Shoeless Joe Jackson was innocent, but the conclusion made by many that he was guilty blocked him from Hall of Fame when it opened in 1939.

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