Pete Rose almost receives justice

Sports Editor Eric Johnson discusses topics on in-season sports and issues in sports all across America. Reading this column will not only make you chuckle, but it will also change your life in the most positive way known to man.


In 1986, a legacy was shattered.

Former Cincinnati Reds first baseman and manager Pete Rose was convicted of betting on baseball games that he believed his team would win, which resulted in not only being banned by a regulatory board, but also eliminated his hopes of being elected into the Hall of Fame.

I ask a simple question: why do we condemn somebody who has faith in his team, but idolize players that abuse animals, other people, commit adultery, and use illegal substances to improve their performances?

It’s simply outrageous to condemn Rose for gambling in favor of his own games, but have people still worship players like Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Peterson, and Terrell Suggs.

We grow up learning to be confident in ourselves, but when somebody decides they are going to be confident and bet money because he believes a team will perform well, he gets banned by the league.

Let’s play a game. Let’s make jokes about how many women Woods has slept with. Let’s mock Vick for the brutality he forced innocent dogs to endure. Let’s teach kids it’s okay to cheat and use performance enhancing substances and allow A-Rod to stay in baseball. Let’s teach the future leaders of the world to physically abuse their families through Peterson’s son and Suggs’ wife.

Vick endured the worst punishment for his crime out of all these criminals, which wasn’t even on another human being. Even still, the NFL banned Vick from the league for only three years.

What separates Pete Rose from these other convicts is that he broke a rule specific to his sport, not an actual law, which is why he did not get in any legal trouble. Because he did nothing illegal, Rose merely violated a part of his contract that didn’t hurt anybody.

Based on talent alone, Pete Rose still stands out above every other athlete regardless of sport.

I admire Rose for his legendary skill, never batting below .300 and holding the record for over 30 years. My favorite aspect of Rose’s approach is that he would never swing for the fences, despite being a phenomenal power hitter. Rose would just attempt to make contact and whack the ball.

Hitting homeruns is nice, but you need better, more thought-out approaches in baseball. In the words of former professional and current manager Billy Beane “you need to get on base.”

Of course there are the greats like Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter, but Pete Rose still holds the all time record for the most hits in an MLB career. It is truly remarkable because he played in the majors for 23 years, and all of those years, Rose had above a .300 batting average.

Rose also went on a 44-game hit streak in 1978, which would have guaranteed him a spot in Cooperstown and as the greatest hitter of all time.

Rose obviously never threw a game, as evidenced by his incredible fielding percentage, even over 20 years after leaving the league.

What’s even worse is the “favor” people believe they are doing by hiring Rose to be a part of the All-Star Game this year at Great American Ball Park.

Rose deserves more than a publicity stunt, Rose deserves a shrine in Cooperstown.

Eric Johnson is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and