By: Eric Pahel
“If I had played my career hitting singles like Pete (Rose), I’d wear a dress.” Mickey Mantle
Pete Rose has applied for reinstatement to baseball for the third time. I hope he gets it. I loved watching Pete play when I was a kid. The only person more badass in baseball was Earl Weaver, and maybe if Pete hit a few more home runs I would put him above Weaver. Pete should be in the Hall of Fame. Nobody played with more heart.
Pete Rose should be in the hall, and I’m gonna to tell you why. For those of you who don’t know, the Blacksox scandal happened in 1919 when gamblers and the Chicago Whitesox tried to fix the world series. It was a big deal, Judge Landis became commissioner of baseball to clean it up and restore trust to the game, which he did by banning anybody who was allegedly involved with the gambling no matter what the evidence says. The courts never found anybody guilty. There is a story of Shoeless Joe leaving the hearing and a kid saying “Say it aint so,” and Shoeless Joe wasn’t able to tell the child that it wasn’t. Nice story, but it never happened. Claude “Lefty” Williams lost three games, and he only pitched because Red Farber got sick with the flu. The Sox lost the series, and Landis came down with a very heavy hand in the Blacksox scandal. He blamed the victims, with Shoeless Joe Jackson receiving a lifetime ban despite his excellent performance in the series. Comisky has a park named after him and that SOB set up the conditions that made the scandal happen.
Comisky was a cheap SOB that was hated by all of his players. He did not even pay to launder their uniforms, and because of the reserve clause there was nothing the players could do about it. Free agency was years away. The owners had all the power back in those days. Eddie Cicotte would have got a bonus in 1919 if he got 30 wins, but Comisky shut him down for his last five starts so he didn’t have to pay. He was 29 and 4 with five starts left. Comisky gave the Sox a case of flat champagne for winning the pennant, and he saw it as an example of his largess. It was this kind of exploitation which allowed the gamblers into the building. One of Landis’s justifications for his draconian response was that nobody told Comisky what was happening, and why would you expect people to tell that cheap SOB anything. It sucked playing for the Whitesox and there wasn’t anything the players can do about it. Hell you weren’t even allowed to barnstorm to make a couple of extra dollars.
The Babe was the one that restored baseball with his home runs and larger than life personality. He got suspended by Landis for barnstorming and being a disgrace to the game. That hypocrite publicly shamed the Babe when the game needed him the most. The rich and powerful aren’t guilty because they make the rules.
I am cool with the people who tried to throw the series having a life-time ban, but the fallout is the life-time ban for Rose, who never bet against his team. He always did everything he could to win. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays got banned for being casino greeters after their playing days. No accountability for Landis, who is held up as a hero, while he delayed integration. No justice for Comisky the cheap SOB that created an environment that made this kind of thing likely and turned a blind eye to it as it was happening. The big winner would be baseball if they let Pete in the hall of fame, and I can guarantee that all the moralists trying to keep Rose out have huge skeletons in their closet.
So anyway, Shoeless Joe Jackson should be reinstated and put him in the hall of fame. Eddie Cicotte should be reinstated and considered for the hall. Arnold “Chick” Gandil should remain banned, and it is a damn shame. I may soften the last one because of what a huge dick Comiskey was, and there is a school of thought that they called the fix off, and the errors and Cicotte hitting the first batter were a result of the fear of being closely watched. Comiskey should be banned for turning a blind eye and creating the conditions for the scandal. Comiskey park should either be renamed after Oprah or Obama.
How awesome would Oprah Winfrey Park be? Fred McMullin and Charles “Swede” Risberg should stay banned. Buck Weaver is reinstated. Claude “Lefty” Williams should stay banned. Do you think if Cicotte wasn’t shut down at the end of the year he would have gone along with the fix, or at least have been shaper? Landis stays in the hall of fame. He did love the game and thought he was doing what was best for it. i give him some credit, but he was also a fascist in the age of fascism.
Pete Rose bet seven days a week, but he didn’t hold anything back for the next game. He put everything he could into the game he was playing. The Dowd report falsely said that there pitchers he didn’t bet on. There are records of him doing so. I have read most of the Dowd report. I also know there are things which are relevant that are not included in the Dowd report.
Rose seems genuinely repentant and he love the game. Some say that it affected his managerial decisions, but Earl Weaver said that it is the job of the manager to get thrown out of the game because it doesn’t matter if he is around or not. I think it is time to set the record straight, and if you think that I’m fronting, all i can say is do your research and make up your own mind. The sources are freely available. You decide on what is true and what is right.