Major League Baseball’s All-Time hit leader, Pete Rose turns the Big 8-0. The man, nicknamed Charlie Hustle, was a major part of the Big Red Machine of the 1970s. He spent 27 years in baseball, 24 as a player, and has been known for the negative as opposed to the impact he had on America’s pastime.
The disgraced player and manager has spent decades lobbying to be reinstated by MLB. In August 1989, Rose was penalized with permanent ineligibility from baseball after accusations that he gambled on baseball games while he played for and managed the Cincinnati Reds. Those charges included claims that he bet on his own team, and manipulated the outcome to favor his bets. In 1991, the Baseball Hall of Fame formally voted to ban those on the permanently ineligible list from induction, after previously excluding such players by an informal agreement among voters.
After years of denial, Rose finally admitted in 2004 that not only did he bet on baseball, but also on the Reds games that he played in and managed.
A reinstatement would pave the way for his name to be on the ballot. It would afford him the chance to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. However, his wrongdoing may ultimately lead to him never being enshrined among the game’s best, regardless of his stats and accomplishments.
Among the reasons Pete Rose belongs in Cooperstown include:
17-time All-Star selection
National League Rookie of the Year in 1963
Three-time World Series champion
National League Most Valuable Player in 1973 and World Series Most Valuable Player in 1975
Two-time Gold Glove Award winner
Three-time NL batting champion
The Cincinnati Reds retired his number 14 jersey
Named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team
In addition to that, Rose also holds five MLB records, all of which are unlikely to ever be eclipsed.
4,256 career hits
3,215 career singles
3,562 career games played
14,053 career at-bats
15,890 career plate appearances.
The Debate Rages On
The issue of Rose’s possible reinstatement and election to the Hall of Fame remains a much-debated topic around the game of baseball. It was brought into light again after the Houston Astros sign-stealing investigation. The team, according to many experts’ accounts, received nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Baseball purists contend that cheating is cheating. But in each case, in particular this one, it isn’t so cut and dry. Admitted or suspected steroid users, while not enshrined, have yet to be voted into Cooperstown, but remain on the ballot. What if someone already enshrined admitted to using performance-enhancing substances or corking their bat, would they be removed from the Hall?
The Baseball Hall of Fame that showcases the best that ever played the game, isn’t complete without the game’s all-time hit king. Happy 80th Birthday, Charlie Hustle.
Follow Joe Heller on Twitter @JerseyJoe317
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