If Pete Rose is looking to gain acceptance back into the world of baseball, he should probably try to avoid looking like a headcase. What is going on with this jacket? If this was done in the spirit of April Fools Day, we get it. That doesn’t make it funny. If not, Pete should try looking in the mirror before he goes out in public. If he looked in the mirror and liked what he saw before he left his house on Thursday, betting on baseball is the least of his problems. Thanks to Hardball Talk via TedQuarters for the picture.
Anyone think Pete Rose was inching closer and closer to having his lifetime ban from Major League Baseball lifted? Think again. Deadspin broke a major story on Tuesday that is going to break the hearts of the Pete Rose faithful. You can say what you’d like about his gambling problems and his behavior off the field, but until Tuesday morning it didn’t appear that anyone had any hard evidence to prove that Rose cheated at the game of baseball. He’s been accused of corking his bat before, but it’s never been proven and he of course denied it like he denied betting on baseball for so long. The photo above seems like pretty clear evidence that Pete Rose used a corked bat in his pursuit of a record.
The Deadspin report provides an unbelievably detailed description of the history of the bat, including where it came from and images that clearly prove it was indeed a bat used by Pete Rose. Here are a few key snip-its from the Deadspin story:
Rose was in hot pursuit of Ty Cobb’s iconic record of 4,191 hits. It was the only reason he was still playing baseball. Before the season, Rose had a box of about 30 black Mizuno bats specially made for him. His trademark quick swing not nearly as quick as it used to be, Rose ordered his bats a little lighter than usual to shorten up his motion. The bats were 34 inches long, and weighed 31.6 ounces. In honor of his quest for 4,192 hits, they were dubbed the PR4192.
Steve Wolter was a huge Pete Rose fan. He got to know Pete, came to consider him a friend. So, on Sept. 11, the very day Rose broke baseball’s all-time hit record, Wolter made him an offer. Though the Hall Of Fame requested it, Pete Rose sold the record-breaking bat to Steve Wolter. The Wolter family won’t discuss the actual price, but they claim it was the highest amount ever paid for a single piece of sports memorabilia at that time.
In the same weekend that Hank Aaron said steroids cheaters belonged in the Hall of Fame so long as their records include asterisks, the former home run king also campaigned for the reinstatement of the hit king, Pete Rose. From USA Today:
“I would certainly like to see him in,” Aaron said. “He belongs in, really. His career is one that he needs to be right here in the middle of all of this.”
“The Pete Rose thing is different than steroids,” Aaron said. “If I had been Pete, I think I would have asked for forgiveness many, many years ago.”
I’ve maintained that the steroids cheaters belong in Cooperstown because they’re a big part of the history of the game, but that they don’t belong in the Hall of Fame because they lack good character and integrity. Pete Rose, who bet on games as a manager, belongs in the same proposed wing as the cheaters. But with the support of Hank Aaron, Joe Morgan, and Frank Robinson, it appears as if Bud Selig is considering lifting the lifetime ban on Pete Rose making him eligible for the Hall by the veteran’s committee. According to the New York Daily News, “Selig’s conditions for any reinstatement would be stiff. Rose likely would need to make another public apology and he would be prohibited from managing.”
I see two solutions to the issue: either Cooperstown needs to get rid of their character and integrity clause from the voting criteria and just judge players based on performance, or the cheaters need a separate, not equal, home. By the way, what’s more perfect for lazy talk show hosts during the slow days of summer than rehashing the Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame argument? Here’s the perfect impetus!
I already told you about the excellent segment on Double X Sports Radio that featured Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn, Randy Jones, and Darren Smith. In another part of the segment, Tony Gwynn was talking about getting his first major league hit — a double against the Phillies. Apparently Rose was playing first base and trailing the play, and bid Gwynn congratulations on the hit after the play. Tony Gwynn then talked about what a fan he was of Rose, and Rose interjected:
“You guys don’t understand because I love Tony Gwynn because I won some big bets when he played basketball [everybody laughing] … he can score some points … just kidding.”
That line certainly grabbed a ton of laughs, and in case you were unfamiliar, Tony Gwynn was a star point guard at San Diego State. But check out this zinger from Rose: “When I played for [Reds owner] Marge Schott for those five years, she was the only person in the organization with facial hair!” Needless to say, there were some classic lines from Pete Rose. In addition to the jokes, the gang actually talked real baseball where they gave some serious analysis on today’s game.
First Barry Bonds shows interest in managing minor leaguers, now Tony Gwynn? I was on my way to Dodger Stadium early last Friday to get some interviews, listening to Double X Sports 1090 — the Padres’ station. They were running the Padres BP show (you can listen here), and they had quite the star-studded cast: hit king Pete Rose, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Cy Younger Randy Jones, and host Darren Smith. Despite being a BP show which would seem boring, it was easily some of the most enjoyable radio I’ve ever heard — just like listening to a bunch of baseball greats sitting around talking at a bar. At one point Tony was asked by Rose if his ambition is to be a big league manager. Tony’s response was clear: “No.” Rose followed up, “You mean if they offer you the job next month you’d turn it down?” Gwynn responded, “I didn’t say that [laughing loudly].” Now that wouldn’t be much of a stretch considering Gwynn already manages San Diego State’s baseball team. Check this though — attention MLB GMs: Tony Gwynn might be lookin for something new:
“I’ve [managed San Diego State] for six years, I’d like to continue to do it for a while, but I can’t lie to you — one day you’d like to move from that to something else. To me, the minor leagues seem more intriguing than the big leagues. I feel like you can make the biggest difference teaching guys how to do things right.”
Hmm, why does that sound so familiar? Gwynn also added that he was criticized throughout his career for remaining on the Padres even with their losing teams, but he said he did things that made him comfortable and even sacrificed money to be comfortable because that was important to him, much like coaching at San Diego State. He also said that he’d like some of the college rules to change, such as allowing players to have more than two hours to practice a day in the off-season. Gwynn said it’s hard to get better playing college baseball with the restrictions they place on kids. Perhaps that’s a motivating factor in Tony having interest in moving on somewhere else.