YOU’RE PETE ROSE…“Charlie Hustle” on the field and “Charlie Hustler” on the street. As a player you were one of the best; as a citizen you were one of the worst. But, on the field or off it, one thing remained the same: it was always all about you.
“Playing baseball for a living is like having a license to steal.” —Pete Rose
“Charlie Hustle”–Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle mockingly gave you the nickname during spring training in 1963.
As a player you were a great team mate, always giving your all for the team, but, outside the game, like Cobb, you had few friends; once people realized you were a taker, they walked away.
As “Charlie Hustle” you broke Ty Cobb’s record for Career hits [4,256], as “Charlie Hustler,” the guy with an addiction for gambling, you bet on Major League baseball games, while you were the manager of the Reds.
|” (Ty Cobb) He’s the hustlingest player of all time. There’s never been another since|
You and Cobb were hardscrabble kids who came to the game with a chip on your shoulder; the players on the other teams were your enemies; they were trying to take food off your table.
You grew up in the low income section along River Road in Cincinnati, between Anderson Ferry and Sedamsville, at the bottom of blue-collar Price Hill. You swam in the roiling currents of the polluted Ohio River. You used up your high school sports eligibility before you qualified for a diploma.
You and Cobb were both hard-nosed, combative players who weren’t above spiking an infielder or running over a catcher.
You were intense, Cobb was ferocious.
Cobb was an astute investor; he got in on ground floor with Coca-Cola and retired to live, mostly alone, in a mansion with financial reserves, that allowed him to be generous to others. You are not as well off, because you succumbed to the egotistical fallacy that inexorably dooms gamblers to poverty: you thought you were smarter than the bookies and odds makers and the “sucker” bettors.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and, maybe, when you went on an “unlucky” streak with bets outside baseball, say, on the horses, you had cash flow problems, so you doubled down on baseball and placed bets on your own team, since you had the “inside track” on your team and your daily opponents.
Maybe “Charlie Hustler” was convinced that the on-field accomplishments of “Charlie Hustle” made him better than others and entitled to play by a different set of rules; so he got into trouble with the IRS, which sent him to prison for 5 months and, when he came out, he went right back to a world of hustling to make a living.
Al Capone led the Chicago league in “hits” and also got caught by the IRS.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you will “take your medicine” and “do your time,” but your ego will not allow you to kiss the Commissioner’s ring. You refuse to act sorry or sad or guilty, because you’re just not built that way.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you feel that baseball is being unfair to you; Selig let’s an admitted steroid user come back to the game as a Batting coach, but you, who did not cheat while you were a player, cannot come back and manage a team again. But, you admitted to betting on your team to WIN when you were a manager.
But, Selig lets A-Rod play, even after he announces that he has proof that the guy was getting juice from that place in Miami. What’s with that?
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and once they tossed “Charlie Hustle” out of The Show, you had to put on your “Charlie Hustler” uniform again and make a living by hanging out with gamblers, bookmakers, runners, and mopes.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and your ego allowed you to lie about betting on baseball, but, after years of denying it, you did admit it, finally. The timing seemed like self-promotion, since you copped to it just before your book came out, where buyers could read your confession, and defense in My Prison Without Bars [available at Amazon.com]
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YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you think people will believe you when you say:
“I don’t think I was an addict. I think I could control what I was doing…”
But the majority of average Joes know that gambling is an addiction, like alcohol or drugs, and that the addict cannot “control” his impulses to feel the rush of the win, the “big score,” and believe that they will “come out ahead” at the end of the day.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you claim in you autobiography that you only bet on Major League baseball games when you were a manager and, while it seems more likely that your gambling addiction began long before that,
MLB investigators found no proof that you bet on games while you were a player.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you never went to college, but you are a student of the game of baseball. How many of those morons who claim to be fans know that, when the first class of Hall-of-Famers was elected in 1936, Ty Cobb was the top vote-getter; he got more votes than Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, and even Babe Ruth?
And, although you realize that, when you finally get elected into the Hall of Fame, you’re gonna get just enough votes to get in with a suicide squeeze play, you believe that you have earned the honor and, now 72, you hope it will happen before you die.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and this scandal with A-Rod and the other dirty dozen players has given you an opening to exploit the radio talk show circuit, where they introduce your segment with stuff like “With us here today, the All-time hits leader, Reds legend and baseball pariah, “Charlie Hustle”—Pete Rose.” And you try to make your case for another chance:
“You have to understand, I don’t call these guys to do shows, they call me. And of course with all this steroid talk and the 12 guys being suspended and A-Rod appealing, they want my input because I’m suspended for life.
Hey, everything is a different case. I made mistakes. I can’t whine about it. I’m the one that messed up and I’m paying the consequences. However, if I am given a second chance, I won’t need a third chance.
And to be honest with you, I picked the wrong vice. I should have picked alcohol. I should have picked drugs or I should have picked up beating up my wife or girlfriend because if you do those three, you get a second chance. They haven’t given too many gamblers a second chances in the world of baseball.”
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you were given a lifetime ban for gambling by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, who ruled you—the record holder for Career hits–ineligible for enshrinement. But you know that in the nearly 80 years of voting, “character” hasn’t kept many great ballplayers out of the Hall.
BBWA, rule 5: “voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”
But now the Hall of Fame voters have to compare you to all these Steroid users; you didn’t juice up to enhance your performance as a player; you got those 4,256 hits the Old School Way. What about that?
Since when did the Hall of Fame become a church, and what makes the writers who vote on admission so high and mighty; what makes them think they are better than Pete Rose, when none of them ever played a day in Major League baseball? Heck, how many of them ever got past Little League?
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you wonder why these writers in the BBWA make such a big deal out of gambling. After all 37 states [plus the District of Columbia] have legalized state lotteries; 33 states allow betting on horse races; 25 allow some form of casino gambling; only two states, Hawaii and Utah, have no form of legalized gambling.
Heck, odds are posted online and printed in newspapers all over the country, every day.
And, yeah, you did bet on baseball games, when you managed the Reds, but you bet on your own team to win. Nobody has ever shown any proof that you bet against your own team—that you “threw a game.”
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you play the tragic role of Banished Hero, cast out of Paradise, and you are hurt that you are not allowed in The Show and not yet elected to the Hall. And, it hurts that your uniform number hasn’t been retired by the Reds franchise; after all, you got 3,358 of your record total [4,256] hits in a Reds’ uniform and helped win two World Series.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you will be remembered as the guy who ran over catcher Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star game.
“The only way I could get in there was to hit Fosse full force. I think the throw had me beat.”
The collision was seen by millions of fans live and even on the instant replay.
Doctors misdiagnosed Fosse’s injury:
“I played the rest of July and August with a fractured and separated shoulder.’’
It wasn’t until the start of the 1971 season that the Indians discovered the major damage that had been inflicted upon Fosse’s shoulder. His promising career went downhill from there.
Yet, Fosse has never called the hit a “cheap shot.”
And, you said:
“I was safe, which at the moment was the important thing, and we owned a 5-4 victory.
I took some flak about the incident, about playing such a daring brand of baseball in an exhibition game.
Well, I play to win, period…The whole thing was baseball the way it’s supposed to be played. I’m no damn little girl out there. I’m supposed to give the fans their money’s worth and play hard…”
Fosse was legally blocking the plate, since the throw was on its way from the outfielder.
“Heck, I didn’t do anything dirty. I actually went over him and tagged the plate with my right hand, but he had the plate blocked and my knee hit his shoulder.” [See photo]
The night before the All-Star game, Rose and his spouse went to dinner with Fosse and Sam McDowell and their wives and then went back to the Rose’s house to talk baseball.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you have the numbers for Cooperstown: 4,256 steroid-free hits, .303 lifetime average in almost 16,000 plate appearances in the 24 seasons from 1963 through 1986, 17 All-Star Game selections, the most valuable player awards, the 44-game hitting streak (second longest in the modern era, 12 games behind Joe DiMaggio).
Heck, when Major League Baseball announced the thirty members of the All Century Team in 1999, you were on the roster.
But the baseball writers who vote on admission to the Hall gave you just 9.5% , 3.3% [1993, and [4.2%] in 1994. As a student of the game, you know that’s way short of the 75% required for induction. And how many people know who got more votes than Ty Cobb?
Top vote getters in HOF history:
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you apologized to the guys who mattered. When they did that “roast” of you, former teammates Tony Perez, Ken Griffey Sr., Cesar Geronimo, George Foster and Tom Browning really skewered you—all in fun.
You confessed to them:
“I disrespected the game of baseball…When you do that, you disrespect your teammates, the game and your family…I guarantee everybody in this room, I will never disrespect you again.”
“You can talk about hits and runs and championship games… (but) I want my legacy to be (that of) somebody who came forward…”
It took you more than a dozen years to come clean, but you finally did.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you still try to make a case for reinstatement, so you can be a manager or coach again.
“Do I think I’m going to be reinstated? I don’t know…You got Joe Jackson… People compare him to me. Last time I checked, he took money to throw games in the World Series. I bet on my own team to win. There is a big ass difference between those two scenarios right there.” [Ed. Note: Joe took money, as did players, but he played at his normal skill level.]
FACT: You admitted to betting on your own team when you were the Reds’ manager.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and a lot of people believe you are arrogant, abrasive, combative, self-consumed, self-absorbed, self-serving, selfish, and that you were a “shady” person, because you admitted to hanging out on the dark side with gamblers, bookmakers, runners, memorabilia dealers and their sordid ilk.
In an Amazon book review, Eric Kent (USA) summarized the feeling of many fans:
“Pete Rose is white trash, that is what is comes down to.
Pete Rose is a real jerk. The guy could play baseball, but that’s it.
As a person, he is a jerk.
As least he will never get into the baseball hall of fame.
If Pete Rose got into that sacred place, it would be a shame.”
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and maybe, as a human being, you are a jerk, but history will recall you as a great player who ran to First after you got a walk, your daring head first slides, trying to run through outfield walls, as well as mowing down catcher Ray Fosse.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and even the guy who wrote all that crap about you, Sokolove, in that book: Hustle: The Myth, Life, and Lies of Pete Rose–even he agrees that you deserve to be voted into the Hall of Fame.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and maybe the Commissioner should continue to bar you from involvement in the game today, for betting on your team while you managed the Reds from 1984 through 1989.
But, betting didn’t help you get any of your 4,256 hits.
Your former manager, Sparky Anderson, summarized the essence of Peter Rose the ballplayer:
“The first thing that ever impressed me about Pete’s hitting ability when I managed him with the Reds organization is the same thing that impresses me now… He bears down on every swing. He never gives away an at bat.
Think about that for a minute. It doesn’t matter what the score is, Pete bears down like every time at bat will be his last one ever.“
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and, although you do not deserve to be reinstated, so you can earn your living in Major League baseball again, who can dispute that, as a ballplayer, you earned every one of your 4,256 hits the hard way.
People can say what they want about “Charlie Hustler,” the “player,” who hung out with sketchy characters on the streets, but they cannot deny that the baseball player, “Charlie Hustle,” the guy on the field, gave more of himself—game after game, season after season—than almost any other baseball player in the history of the greatest game.
YOU’RE PETE ROSE and you have earned it; you should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, because, every day… you “left it all on the field.”
Awards (yr lg award)
1963 NL Rookie of the Year
1968 NL batting_title
1968 ML Hutch Award
1969 NL batting_title
1969 ML Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
1973 NL batting_title
1973 NL MVP
1975 ML WS MVP
1976 ML Roberto Clemente Award
1981 NL (1B)
Batting Average s c a p y
1965 NL .312 (5th)
1966 NL .313 (8th)
1968 NL .335 (1st)
1969 NL .348 (1st)
1970 NL .316 (9th)
1972 NL .307 (8th)
1973 NL .338 (1st)
1975 NL .317 (8th)
1976 NL .323 (4th)
1977 NL .311 (7th)
1978 NL .302 (8th)
1979 NL .331 (2nd)
1981 NL .325 (2nd)
Career .303 (173rd)
On-Base% s c a p y
1965 NL .382 (3rd)
1968 NL .391 (1st)
1969 NL .428 (3rd)
1972 NL .382 (9th)
1973 NL .401 (8th)
1974 NL .385 (9th)
1975 NL .406 (2nd)
1976 NL .404 (3rd)
1979 NL .418 (1st)
1981 NL .391 (5th)
1985 NL .395 (4th)**
Career .375 (211th)
MAJOR LEAGUE RULES
(a) MISCONDUCT IN PLAYING BASEBALL. Any player or person connected with a
club who shall promise or agree to lose, or to attempt to lose, or to fail
to give his best efforts towards the winning of any baseball game with
which he is or may be in any way concerned; or who shall intentionally
fail to give his best efforts towards the winning of any such baseball
game, or who shall solicit or attempt to induce any player or person
connected with a club to lose, or attempt to lose, or to fail to give his
best efforts towards the winning of any baseball game with which such
other player or person is or may be in any way connected; or who, being
solicited by any person, shall fail to inform his Major League President
and the Commissioner.
(b) GIFT FOR DEFEATING COMPETING CLUB. Any player or person connected
with a club who shall offer or give any gift or reward to a player or
person connected with another club for services rendered or supposed to
be or to have been rendered in defeating or attempting to defeat a
competing club, and any player or person connected with a club who
shall solicit or accept from a player connected with another club any
gifts or reward for any such services rendered, or supposed to have
been rendered, or who having been offered any such gift or reward,
shall fail to inform his League President or the Commissioner
immediately of such offer, and of all facts and circumstances therewith,
shall be declared ineligible for not less than three (3) years.
(c) GIFTS TO UMPIRES Any player or person connected with a club, who
shall give, or offer to give, any gift or reward to an umpire for services
rendered, or supposed to be or to have been rendered, in defeating or
attempting to defeat a competing club, or for the umpire’s decision on
anything connected with the playing of a baseball game; and any umpire
who shall render, or promise or agree to render, any such decision
otherwise than on its merits, or who shall solicit or accept such gifts
or reward, or having been solicited to render any such decision
otherwise than on its merits, shall fail to inform the League President
or the Commissioner immediately of such offer or solicitation, and all
facts and circumstances therewith, shall be declared permanently ineligible.
(d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or
employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in
connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared
ineligible for one year.
Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall
bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which
the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.
(e) VIOLENCE OR MISCONDUCT IN INTERLEAGUE GAMES. In case of any physical
attack or other violence upon an umpire by a player, or by an umpire upon
a player, or of other misconduct by an umpire or a player, during or in
connection with any interleague Major League game or any exhibition game
of a Major League Club with a club or team not a member of the same league,
the Commissioner shall impose upon the offender or offenders such fine,
suspension, ineligibility or other penalty, as the facts may warrant in
the judgement of the Commissioner.
(f) OTHER MISCONDUCT. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as
exclusively defining or otherwise limiting acts, transactions, practices
or conduct not to be in the best interests of Baseball; and any and all
other acts, transactions, practices or conduct not to be in the best
interests of Baseball are prohibited and shall be subject to such
penalties, including permanent ineligibility, as the facts in the
particular case may warrant.
(g) RULE TO BE KEPT POSTED. A printed copy of this Rule shall be kept
posted in each clubhouse.
(d) He uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire’s judgment, has been altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes, bats that are filled, flat-surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as paraffin, wax, etc.
No advancement on the bases will be allowed and any out or outs made during a play shall stand.
In addition to being called out, the player shall be ejected from the game and may be subject to additional penalties as determined by his League President.
Rule 6.06(d) Comment: A batter shall be deemed to have used or attempted to use an illegal bat if he brings such a bat into the batter’s box.
(d) BETTING ON BALL GAMES. Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year.
Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.