Tag Archives: HALL OF FAME

REINSTATE ROSE

The following column appeared in the March 15, 2015 edition of the Biddeford Journal Tribune. Today, it was announced that Pete Rose has petitioned the New Commissioner for reinstatement in baseball.

Ex-Commissioner Fay Vincent is quoted as saying that the issue is not Pete Rose, it …’ has always been the deterrent in baseball against gambling and is always perfectly successful.’ Sure Commissioner, just like your punishments against steroid and PED use have always been successful. Is there anyone in the world except Fay Vincent that believes baseball players don’t bet on games?

Pete Rose should be reinstated at least as far as his playing career is concerned. Anyway, here’s the column.

On the night of October 16, 1983, I was driving from my home in Connecticut to Quantico, Virginia, where I was about to begin my third week of three months at the Federal Bureau Of Investigation’s National Academy. In the car, on the way, we had listened to the end of Game 5 of the World Series and had heard the Baltimore Orioles beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 to take the series and become World Champs 4 games to 1.

As my classmate, Larry Gwaltney and I, passed into and drove through Maryland on Interstate 95, every overpass was filled with people holding banners and signs and waiting for their heroes, the Baltimore Orioles, to pass through on their way back to Baltimore from Philadelphia. This was one of those few World Series of the modern era where the two cities involved were so close together the trip was an easy bus ride.

I remember thinking that the Oriole fan base must be very loyal to turn out like that so the team could get a quick glimpse of them as they passed by at 65 miles an hour. Since then, I have found that the Oriole fans are among the most rabid and loyal in all of baseball.

The other day, I happened to turn the television on just in time to catch the last few innings of a baseball classic on one of the sports channel. They were showing the same Game 5 of the 1983 World Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies.

The Orioles had finished the season with a 98-64 record and had beaten the Chicago White Sox three games to one in the Playoffs. There were only two divisions in each league then. The Phillies had finished 90-72 and had beaten the LosAngeles Dodgers three games to one to make the series.

In the fifth game being shown on television, the Orioles were up 3 games to 1 and the game was being played in Philadelphia at the old Veteran’s Field with 67,064 fans present. Scott McGregor was pitching for the Orioles and they went up 5-0 on the strength of two homers by first baseman Eddie Murray and a homer and double by catcher Rick Dempsey. McGregor went all the way, shutting out the Phillies, as the Orioles became World’s Champs.

Rick Dempsey, a 34 year old, in his 15th year in the big leagues, with his third team, won the World Series Most Valuable Player Award based on his .385 batting average with 5 hits, 4 doubles and a homer in 13 at bats. Dempsey went on to play for three other teams before coming back to Baltimore to finish his 24 year career.

Quite often, the World Series or Playoff MVP is an unknown or unlikely player. In Dempsey’s case, his home run was the only one he would ever hit in 25 post season games, he was a career .233 hitter with just 96 homers in 5,407 at bats. Like a lot of veterans, over his career, he played better in the post season, averaging .303.

The Orioles pitching staff held the Phils to just nine runs in five games despite the fact that the Phils had a power house lineup. Joe Morgan, the former Cincinnati Reds second baseman and future Hall of Famer led off. Followed by all time hit leader Pete Rose who played first base or right field depending on the pitching with the great third baseman and another Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt batting third. Schmidt was held to one hit in 20 at bats by the Oriole pitchers. The Phils also had future Hall of Fame pitcher Steve

Carlton who lost Game 3 by a 3-2 score.

Jim Palmer, the great Orioles pitcher, and another Hall of Famer, who was in the twilight of his career, won Game 3 in relief.

Pete Rose, who was 42 years old and in his 21st year in the major leagues, the first 16 with the Reds, would play for three years after this season. He was Rookie of the year in 1963, Most Valuable Player in the National League in 1973, MVP in the World Series in 1975, won three batting titles and was named to 17 All Star Teams. At 42, he was still a force on the field and went 5-16 for a .303 average in the series.

As every one knows, he had more hits in his career than any player in history, 4,256, and was banned from baseball and the Hall of Fame for betting on his own team as a Manager. Rose has been allowed to participate in some ceremonial events since his original banning from baseball but the ban on the Hall of Fame still stands.

Whether Rose bet on baseball as a Manager or not does not change the fact that he produced more base hits than any other player in history and it is time baseball rescinded the ban on him being in the Hall of Fame. As a player, Pete exemplified the way the game should be played, 100% all the time. Hopefully, the new Commissioner will see fit in the near future to allow him to be placed on some ballot for the Hall. Of course, the way the Baseball Writers of America vote, making their own rules as they go along, that would not guarantee admission.

Pete Rose, the ballplayer, Charlie Hustle, belongs in the Hall of Fame. It’s time Major League Baseball woke up and put him there.

ROSE, CLEMENS AND BONDS SHOULD BE IN HALL

At last, the Hall of Fame Class of 2015 has been named. For the most part, there were no surprises in the group elected that included Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio.

Johnson, a left handed starting pitcher, nicknamed the Big Unit, at 6’10 and 225 pounds, won 303 games and lost only 166 in his 22 year career and posted a 3.29 ERA with 4,875 strikeouts. He won five Cy Young Awards, was named to the All Star Team 10 times, was MVP in the World Series in 2001, when his team won the World Series. He was named on 97.3 percent of the ballots cast. A candidate must be named on 75% of the ballots to be elected.

Martinez, a right handed starter, won 219 and lost 100 in an18 year career with five different teams. He had a career 2.93 ERA, won the Cy Young Award three times and was a member of the Red Sox team that won the World Series in 2004. He was an eight time All Star Team member and won the MVP Award in the 1999 All Star Game. He was named on 91.1 % of the ballots.

Smoltz, who spent most of his 22 year career as a starting pitcher, compiling a 213-155 won loss record, with a career 3.33 ERA, won the Cy Young Award in 1996. In addition to his 481 starts, from 2001-2004, he was the Closer for the Atlanta Braves, where he spent all but the last year of his career. During that four years, he saved 154 of 169 save attempts. He was named on 82.9 % of the ballots.

Biggio, spent his entire 20 year career with the Houston Astros. He had a career batting average of .281 and amassed 3,060 hits in that time. He was a seven time All Star and won four Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. He hit over .300 just four times and posted his highest average, .325, in 1998. He led the league in doubles three times, in stolen bases once and in runs scored twice. Although his statistics seem rather modest for the Hall, the 3,000 hit plateau, like 500 homers or 300 pitching victories has always been the benchmark fore admission and he did join that rather exclusive club. He was named on 82.7 % of the ballots.

There were also few surprises in the group that did not get elected. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were excluded again this year. Clemens was named on a mere 37.5% of the ballots and Bonds on just 36.8 %.

Clemens pitched for 23 years during which time he won 354 games and lost 184 and compiled a 3.12 ERA. He won seven Cy Young Awards with four different teams, was MVP in the American League in 1986, was selected for the All Star Team 11 times and was MVP in the All Star Game in 1986. He was on the Yankee teams that won the World Series in 1999 and 2000. He was never proven to have used any type of steroids or drugs.

Barry Bonds, on the other hand, a proven PED user, hit 762 home runs, the most by any player in history, hit 73 homers in one year, 2001, hit over 30 homers in 13 seasons and was the National League batting champion in 2002 and 2004. He was named to 14 All Star teams and was Most Valuable Player in the National League seven times.

Both are being systematically excluded from the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association, completely arbitrarily. The rules for voting in Hall of Fame elections state that ‘Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.’

In Clemens case, there is no basis whatsoever in the rules to exclude him. In Bonds case, unless you consider that, in his era, a large percentage of the players he was competing against were also using some type of PED, you might exclude him for PED use.

The Hall of Fame needs to do something to allow the exceptional performance of these two to be recognized in the Hall. When Roger Maris hit his 61 home runs in a 162 game season and broke Babe Ruth’s record of 60 in a 154 game season, an asterisk was added to his total in the record books to indicate the difference.

Worse yet, is the exclusion of Pete Rose from the Hall of Fame. In 24 years in the Majors, Rose hit safely 4,256 times the most by any hitter in history. He averaged .303 in that illustrious career and was the poster boy for all out effort on the field. Because he gambled and bet on his own team, he was banned from baseball by the Commissioner and thereby excluded from the Hall of Fame.

People on both sides of this argument can make valid points but the bottom line is this. The player with the most hits in baseball history, the one with the most home runs and the last 300 game winner in the history of baseball are not recognized in the Hall of Fame. Whether you like them or not, whether you think they deserve inclusion or not their numbers cannot be changed. Over the years, countries like Russia have erased their leaders from history when it is convenient.

Excluding them from the Hall of Fame does not resolve anything. Their records are there and cannot be changed. Section 9 of the Rules For Election to the Hall says ‘The Board of Directors of the National Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., reserves the right to revoke, alter or amend these rules at any time.’ The time is now and the Board has the right to rectify this situation. All it takes is an amendment and, oh yes, a little intestinal fortitude.