Your Annual 'Will They or Won't They?' Pete Rose Hall of Fame Update

It was that special time of the year this weekend when fans flock to Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame inductions. Most people seem to be talking about Rickey Henderson's speech and his Michael Irvin-style suit, but today, via the New York Daily News, we get the story we get every year. Will baseball's all-time hit king Pete Rose finally be allowed into the Hall of Fame? ↵

↵This story has become a bit like watching the leaves change. It happens every year. Rose continues to go to Cooperstown every summer to sign autographs while not being asked to be part of the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame inductions, but that could be changing. ↵

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↵⇥The tip-off that [MLB commissioner Bud] Selig may now be inclined to pardon baseball's all-time hit king was Hank Aaron's seemingly impromptu interview session with a small group of reporters in the lobby of the Otesaga Hotel on Saturday. In declaring for the first time that he would want an asterisk put on the achievements of any steroid cheats elected to the Hall of Fame, Aaron brought up Rose, who, in August of 1989, was given a lifetime ban for gambling on baseball, saying: "I would like to see Pete in. He belongs there." ↵⇥

↵⇥It is no secret that Selig considers Aaron one of his closest friends and values his opinions over perhaps all others. It was also learned by the Daily News that in a meeting of the Hall of Fame's board of directors at the Otesaga later on Saturday, two of Rose's former teammates on the board, vice chairman Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson, also expressed their hope that Selig would see fit to reinstate Rose. ↵⇥

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↵Without seeing more of the conversation between reports and Aaron, this one is sort of tough to figure. What exactly does Aaron want? ↵

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↵You can pretty easily figure out Aaron's stance on PED use given how he handled Barry Bonds' assault on his all-time home run record. So clearly he wants asterisks for any PED-using players who make it into the Hall of Fame. But what does this mean for Rose? ↵

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↵Let Pete in with an asterisk: Is Aaron, a real purist of the game, ready to just concede there have been a lot of big-time, significant cheaters and that baseball needs to recognize them for better or worse? At this point, you could probably create a Hall of Shame somewhere in Cooperstown about stars who have run afoul of baseball's rules. You could even make the door knobs to the hall out of asterisks and put big, fat asterisks next to their names on their plaques. And patrons would be given tomatoes to throw at inductees on the day they're enshrined. ↵

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↵Let Pete in without any conditions: It could be that Aaron makes the distinction between gambling and pharmaceuticals, so his stance would be to allow Rose into the Hall of Fame because he'd be the lesser of two evils, reserving asterisks for players who messed with needles, not bookies. ↵

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↵The Daily News reports it wasn't just Aaron lobbying for Rose. Former teammates Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson both want to see Rose in the Hall of Fame. That opens up the other big question for Rose if he goes to the Veterans Committee ballot. Would he ever be able to snag 75 percent of the vote there or would he face an even tougher battle against grizzled veterans who consider themselves the last line of defense for the Hall of Fame's sanctity? ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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