“THE HUSTLE” by Joel Schafer

I would like to thank Lee and Ted and Todd for giving me the opportunity to write for the Triple B.  It is an honor to give you my unique look into a sport I love. Without any further adieu, I give you a piece I wrote while my youngest “chipper” was in the hospital,  written from my good ol’ blackberry (no I don’t have it anymore).

Well as you can see it is obvious who I am writing about, that’s right: Pete “the cheat” “Charlie hustle” Rose. Now for many this is an open and shut case. He bet on baseball, he should be banned for life. Slam the door shut, lock it, dead bolt it three times and put a chair under the doorknob to make sure this door never gets opened again.

This is how he has been, and is to be handled. Forget you, Pete! You may have played 20 years, had a .303 lifetime average and the most hits of any player ever to play Major League Baseball. Canton will forget your 15 all-star appearances (would have been 16 but he was injured) that he was an all-star at 5 positions: 2b, 3b, 1b, RF and LF. The only player to do this. He has the most wins of any player to play the game. He played over 500 games at 5 different positions. He played the game harder than anyone. Pete Rose trucked the catcher in the all-star game just to win. This is an example of what it meant for Pete to win. If there was a score board, he better be the one with the best score. That score board meant more to him than any other play on any given day. It showed on every fly out or tap back to the mound. He would be hustling. He was the best hitter since Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and Stan Musial. There may not be anyone who breaks his career hits record. He made a run at Joe DiMaggio”s hit-streak record ending with a tied NL record of 44 games. Thanks for the memories, Pete. Screw you and how you played the game.

So Pete managed his team, the Reds, the team he loved and cherished playing for. He gambled on baseball. Yes, this is deplorable. He was an habitual gambler on sports. The infamous 225 page Dowd Report came out and posed accusations of Mr. Rose betting on baseball. Rose agreed to a lifetime ban with a chance to be reinstated. In 1992 he applied for reinstatement. The Commissioner, Fay Vincent, decided not to act on the application. By stating there was never a reason to consider this. Mr. Vincent, really? What part of his playing career didn’t you like? Was it the Ray Fosse moment? Was it the 44 game hit streak ending and Pete being upset that it was over? Is this a personal vendetta against Rose?  I think it is. Whatever your reasons were for not even considering Rose for reinstatement and throwing the application away, it’s terrible. We are not trying to nominate him for Man of the Year in baseball. Yes, Fay. I know you were the assistant commissioner that had a chip on your shoulder and led the investigation after it was closed by the preceding commissioner Peter Ueberroth. You were the main reason he got a lifetime ban. In a recent interview with Dan Barreiro, you were saying that to be in the Hall of Fame, your character should match your on the field performance. So should they kick everyone out who had an extra marital affair? The public nuisance of some one like Babe Ruth? Let’s go to other sports: how about Lawrence Taylor or OJ Simpson for examples? Should they be swiftly kicked out of the Hall of Fame in their respective sport? You also were saying that Pete was, in your opinion, betting as a player. Would you really go back 35 years and investigate this?  If you want to tarnish Pete Rose’s name, congratulations you did it. You were made famous for this action alone. Your hate for Rose is over 30 years old! Give it a rest.

On to the current MLB commissioner, Bud Selig. He also saw an application for reinstatement come across his desk. Bud decided to find the trash can and ignore this attempt at reinstatement. Bud may be the worst of all sports commissioners. He made an All Star Game “count” by having it determine home field advantage for the World Series. He tried to eliminate a National and American League team (Expos {now Nationals} and the Twins). He has expanded the playoffs twice, making the longest sport season drag on even longer.  Selig has not made baseball better. He is booed deservingly in every stadium. This crusty “Boss” has no idea what is good for the game of baseball. Selig doesn’t know if he is coming or going. He will never meet with Pete or even take his call.

Peter Ueberroth was the original commissioner for the Pete Rose betting case. He dropped it. He didn’t feel the need to continue with it. He then proceeded to step down as commissioner. Peter has an interesting resume. He reinstated previous gamblers and Hall of Famers. You might know the names, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Yes, they worked at a casino and that was part of the gambling act in baseball at the time to be banned. Mickey thought it was crap and worked for the casino anyways.

With all this being said, Pete needs to be in the Hall of Fame. He needs to be reinstated into baseball on some level. Don’t let him manage, I am fine with that. There is a place in history for Pete Rose. Give him his recognition as one of baseball’s finest players, after all that is exactly what he was.

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