The announcement that Pete Rose would be inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame came out of nowhere. It makes sense. It’s the right thing to do. And it was led by Reds Owner Bob Castellini.
Castellini sometimes let’s his loyalty to those who work for him betray him. But he’s always had his finger on the pulse of Reds fans. He knows this is what most Cincinnati Reds fans want.
Everyone admits the numbers are there for Rose’s admission into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That aside, his presence in the Reds Hall of Fame is certainly a no-brainer. You know the numbers– 4,256 hits, the MVP Award in 1973, the nine 200-hit seasons, the 13 seasons where he batted over .300, 13 All-Star appearances and a .321 batting average in 67 post season games.
I fully understand there’s a segment of Reds fans who will never forgive Pete Rose for his gambling on baseball. This article isn’t written to try and change your mind. Rather, I write it to show how the Reds are honoring one of their all-time greats for accomplishments between the white lines and doing it while Pete Rose is still alive.
I’ve been to several baseball team Hall of Fames over the years. All of them are good. None of them are equal to what we have in Cincinnati. The Reds Hall of Fame is a stand-alone structure, rich in history as the oldest baseball franchise should be.
Rose’s fingerprints are all over the Hall down by the Ohio River. How can you miss the 4,256 baseballs representing each of his hits? Or his contributions to the Big Red Machine? Or how he complied with Sparky Anderson’s request to move from left field to third base in May 1975? That move got George Foster in the lineup and cemented back to back World Championships in 1975 and 1976.
Castellini and the Reds will do this right. (I have much more confidence in them doing this right than what we will face in 2016 on the field). Rose’s #14 will be retired, as it should. And there will be a statue of Rose at Great American Ballpark as there already are for Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan and next year, Tony Perez. Rose’s inclusion in the Reds Hall of Fame cements that all of the “Great Eight” will be included.
It would also be nice to see Pete Rose by the batting cage at GABP and in the clubhouse. That would be a positive thing. Who are young hitters for the Reds going to listen to? Guys like Brooke Jacoby and Don Long? Or Pete Rose? You tell me.
That’s nothing against Jacoby or Long. And I’m not advocating usurping a hitting coach’s authority; but there’s simply nothing wrong with a guy like Pete Rose teaching a younger kid a few things. Pete Rose faced the stare of Bob Gibson, the crackling fastball of Sandy Koufax, the high leg kick of Juan Marichal, the inside fastball of Don Drysdale and legends like Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan and Catfish Hunter.
During the press conference at the Reds Hall of Fame, Bob Castellini was asked “Why now?” regarding the selection of Rose to the Reds HOF.
Castellini’s simple reply was, “Why not?”
He was given the green light by MLB. He moved on it. Good for him, good for Pete Rose and this is a big win for Cincinnati Reds fans.
A major piece of history for the Cincinnati Reds was absent for years. This completes it. Castellini’s actions are a credit to himself and the Reds organization.
John lives in Galesburg, Illinois and has been a Reds fan all of his life. He is a retired firefighter and a Veteran who served for 32 years but stays active at the local Humane Society. His favorite Reds players include Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Tony Perez, Eric Davis, and Bronson Arroyo. While writing, he frequently listens to the music of Led Zeppelin and Steely Dan. He is flanked in the photo by ever-loyal “Reptar.”