The Cincinnati Reds announced this morning that Pete Rose would be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place the weekend of June 24-26. Pete’s number #14, which has been defacto retired since he wore it, will be officially retired. They’ll also build a statue to join the others from the Big Red Machine era.

There’s lots of hyperventilating about this on the internets. Calm down. Pete Rose had a career that stretched 19 years with the Reds. His performance on the field is certainly worthy of the highest recognition. That’s not remotely debatable.

Induction into the Reds Hall of Fame isn’t canonization. It’s a celebration of Rose the baseball player, not Rose the manager or Rose the man. It’s not like he’s coming back to be the skipper (despite his joke during the press conference) or draw a salary with the club.

Rose’s induction won’t whitewash his gambling scandal. That episode has been in the news once or twice, I think. No one will forget it. I doubt a single person who sees the HOF exhibit will not at some point think about the gambling. That’s a part of Rose’s identity that won’t and shouldn’t be separated.

And the timing isn’t PR-related. This is the first opportunity – post-Selig – that the Reds have been given permission to do it. The decision to honor Pete this summer isn’t about the team the Reds are going to field this year. Does anyone doubt if MLB had given this a green light in 2012 the Reds would have done it then? And even if this was timed to make Reds fans forget about the win-loss record, so what? Are you against all promotions, or just the ones when the team has a losing record? It seems odd to begrudge the organization for trying to put a little “fun” back in the dysfunction.

By now, everyone has their mind made up about Pete. Everything has been said. And by everybody.

Maybe this announcement and event isn’t for you. But it is for other people who derived enjoyment and pride out of watching hometown Pete Rose play for the Reds. I don’t understand why the one group feels like they need to rain on the parade of the other. If you don’t want to join in, don’t.

The bottom line for me is that Pete Rose’s career as a player for the Reds has a place in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Nothing more, nothing less.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 29 Comments

  1. Perhaps Charlie Hustle would be a better way to describe him in the HOF. Charlie Hustle played with a fire in his heart to win, win, win. Pete Rose is addicted to gambling….on sports…..baseball…..games he played in and managed in.

    • Best post yet! Can’t agree more.

      It’s clearly Bob pandering to the local public, in lieu of making a decent effort to field a team.

  2. Glad to see him being remembered in such a way by the Reds.

  3. I don´t care what anybody says about Pete Rose the person. I do know I´m a Reds fan because that amazing team I watched as a youngster led by Peter Edward Rose, The ALL-TIME HITS KING.
    Congratulations Charlie Hustle for an excellent career.

  4. I’m glad to see this happen. I wasn’t a big Rose fan during his career; but what he accomplished on the field is beyond question worthy of induction to any baseball hall of fame, local or national, regardless of the later gambling issue.

    It is clear that MLB has drawn their line in the sand. They don’t care if Rose is recognized as a baseball icon, seen around the games, and even making his living off baseball, as long as he isn’t on the field in an official capacity or on a team payroll.

    Some on both sides of the “Rose issue” no doubt see this situation as hypocritical. I choose to see it as a working compromise. Rose is allowed allowed a de facto partial reinstatement while baseball is afforded protection should another unseemly shoe ever fall. I do wish however that the National HoF would find a way to consider Rose for induction. Perhaps MLB allowing this level of participation and recognition for Rose will become an impetus for that. If so, the the circle would be closed for me.

  5. I am guessing that this might have been an MLB compromise- we won’t reinstate you but you can go in Reds hall of fame? If so, seems like a practical decision by the new commissioner. I am sure it will be a great event, I wonder how close Rose is to finding closure on the whole ordeal, hope this helps.

  6. I’m all for this. Good work Reds.

  7. It’s about time. made it easier to pick one of the weekends i travel back for a weekend of games.

  8. “By now, everyone has their mind made up about Pete. Everything has been said. And by everybody.”

    That pretty much sums it up. This horse has been beaten so much it’s a wonder it hasn’t been called Cruelty to Dead Animals.

    That said, I see no reason why the Reds shouldn’t be able to honor Rose the baseball player, and I’m glad Rose and the Reds are finally being allowed to have their day in the sun.

  9. Although I’m not a fan of Rose the person, Rose the player did some remarkable things. His induction to the Reds HoF was overdue.

  10. Congratulations to Pete Rose. The record book says it all. Pete made himself into one of the greatest players in baseball history.

    • And biggest Pariah, congrats on that too.

      The real question is what would I rather lose as a Reds fan for the last half century? The enjoyment of Rose the player? The embarrassment of being asked day after day about Rose the gambler? Tough call, depends on whether we get those 2 championships without Rose I guess.

      • Pariah defined as one despised and condemned by society, an outcast. Really? Pete Rose is being honored by the Reds and their fans for his playing accomplishments along with many fans across the country.

  11. The Old Cossack has only one unresolved issue regarding Pet Rose. Do we get the pleasure of seeing Pete’s trademark, head-first slide in bronze?

  12. Awesome day for Pete! It’s about time! As a player his accomplishments warrant this.

  13. Good for the Reds and Pete. And well said Steve. Completely agree.

    I’m a life long Red’s fan (well since I was 5 in 1970), but was born in the Philly area. Moved away from there when I was 3, but lots of relatives in the area including my grandparents who were huge Phillies fans. We visited them often and I watched Phillies games with them. You always knew when PopPop really liked a player because he would say “that guy is a ball player”, drawing out the word ball and emphasizing the play in player. He didn’t say it often, but he said it about Pete even while he was still a Red. He was pleased as punch when Pete went to the Phils at which point he promptly predicted that the Phillies would win a World Series with Rose. “That Pete Rose is a Baaalllll PLAYer” he said.

  14. Pete is the perfect anti hero- brilliance mixed with dysfunction. Loved the way he played the game, yet as an 8 year old growing up in Cincy during the Big Red Machine, he left an autograph signing early. I was the next kid in line and he barely looked at me and walked away. Life happens- honor the player and the joy he brought to all of us in Cincinnati during those great years. Sitting with my grandfather listening to the Reds on the radio is a memory I will always love. thanks to Pete the player.

  15. Several years ago, Malcolm Gladwell wrote an interesting book titled “Outliers.” The general premise is that highly accomplished people are smart, hard working visionaries,,,who happen to be lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. It always makes me think of Rose.

    He was born with the innate ability to hit MLB pitching. He worked incredibly hard to maximize his talent and excel at his craft. He was also lucky enough to spend the bulk of his career surrounded by players who were able to mitigate his weaknesses (Little power…not fast, subpar defensive player) and magnify his strengths (he could hit). When you lack power and have players such as Robinson, Tolan, May, Bench, Perez, Morgan, Foster, Schmidt batting behind you’re going to see a lot of fastballs……I doubt any manager ever worked around Pete Rose to get to Joe Morgan. To his credit, he made the most of the opportunity that presented itself.

    He has the most hits….he also made the most outs. He’s played in more winning games than anyone…..he also is 4th in most losing games. Very few did more with less natural athleticism…..very few spent their careers surrounded by such great teammates. He was a great, incredibly dedicated and durable player…..who was incredibly lucky.

    • Good points. Pretty much spells out why I said above I was never a big fan of Rose’s but respected what he did on the field (especially given the limits of his physical talents.

      The one thing you didn’t mention which might fit also fit is that, ironically or maybe not so ironically, he wasn’t afraid to take a gamble on the field. On the bases, he always seemed to be alert and aware of when the risk was reasonable enough to take and take it he did.

      • Far less successful at gambling off the field. Kinda reminds me of Jordan as an NBA owner.

  16. Yeaaaa, Reds!!!

    Pete needs to be in the HoF or they need to put together a committee and draw up a list of a lot of people that should be taken out.

    • Unless there are people in the HOF who are under a life time suspension then I’m not quite sure what the committee would do.

      Under your proposal, would Pete be kicked out of the HOF for being a convicted felon who served time? He got a lot of hits and did a cool head first slide but I don’t think he makes anyone’s list of guys you want your sister to marry. The great potential irony of inducting Pete because there are bad guys in the HOF and then kicking him out because they’re getting rid of the bad guys.

      • I can’t even figure out what you’re arguing – you do know there are people in the HoF who gambled – cheated – took drugs – had “bad character” – even some who are responsible for the league being racially segregated, right?

  17. Mark….I read your first line as Pete needs to be in the HOF AND they need to put together a committee……sheer buffoonery on my part.

  18. I’m fine with him going to the team HOF. Hell, I think he should be in Cooperstown.

    But I think Steve’s looking through pink-hued glasses if he thinks this isn’t about PR, or selling tickets for a season where the on-field product will be …um, sub-par. Hint: Watch the bobblehead and promotion for the season.

    This is more 1970s nostalgia for a team and fan base that desperately need to move on.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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