Save Pete From Pete

I didn't have a chance to get back to my father-in-law who left a voicemail on my cell at the beginning of the week. All he said was: "No joke: Pete Rose has autographed baseballs with 'I'm sorry. I bet on baseball,' written on them" Was I shocked? Of course not. It's Pete being Pete. As many of you know, I'm a big Pete Rose guy. That doesn't mean I'm an apologists for all his ridiculous actions, but I admired his playing style and the stats he accumulated throughout his career. He went to high school with my dad and was all westside. And most of all, he played for the hometown team. While I laugh at San Francisco fans who cheer for Barry Bonds, maybe I should remember that I still pull for Pete.

Here's the deal: Pete should be in the Hall of Fame. It's not like lifetime bans have never been overturned. Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle were both banned for life by baseball for working in casinos and saw those bans eliminated. And neither of them had to wait 17+ years for it to happen. You can't deny that Rose's stats aren't Hall-worthy. Keep him from working in baseball. That's fine [not like anyone will want to hire him anyway]. But put him in the Hall.

Until that happens, Pete will keep riding the current gravy train. He can continue making money as a sideshow. But if you let him in the Hall, he'll only be able to milk it for a few more years and then will ride off into obscurity. There are dozens of living Hall of Famers out there while only one "should be in there." It would solve everything.

And put Shoeless Joe in there while you're at it.