After Henry Aaron voiced his support for the reinstatement of Pete Rose at the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in Cooperstown Sunday, there have been renewed reports that Commish Bud Selig might be reconsidering the lifetime ban on him. Aaron is a close friend of Selig's and it appeared to be a sign that Selig was seriously rethinking the ban. In addition, The Daily News is reporting that Hall of Famers and former Rose teammates Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson also expressed support at a HOF board members meeting over the weekend.
There is no debate that Rose's numbers qualify him for a place in the Hall. He played in more games than any other player, had the most hits, 6th best in runs scored and 2nd in doubles. Yes, he gambled while a player but never against his own team. Yes, lied about it. Maybe more importantly than any other factor, he refused to show remorse.
Aside from having the support of some prominent former players, it is no coincidence that this debate is reigniting on the cusp of eligibility for the first group of steroid-related players. Insert the words "steroid use" for gambling and the issue is very similar.
If the Hall of Fame is meant to showcase the best of baseball, where should the line be drawn when it comes to players behavior? Rose was caught for his misdeeds. Mark McGwire, an early test case for steroid use was basically shunned in the voting. If Rose is reinstated, after "serving a 20-year sentence", there's no guarantee he would be voted into the Hall. But, the issue,it appears among his contemporaries,is that he did his time and his accomplishments should be honored alongside the best in the game.
An interesting question to ponder is, down the road, will the steroid users who got away with it, who's names were never revealed, vote in the players who were outed? Gambling and lying vs. taking steroids and lying about it, who are the best judges for admittance? Should it be sportswriters or the guys you played with? Selig can lift Rose's ban and let the veteran's committee decide what to do about Rose.