It's time to allow Pete Rose back into baseball. Given the level of discussion currently under way, it appears that possibility may be right around the corner.
The controversial Rose has only to sign an acknowledgement that he indeed bet on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds. With that stroke of a pen Rose would be reinstated and soon, he would be on the Hall of Fame ballot. At long last this awkward chapter in baseball history would come to an end.
I know of a fellow who is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for a crime that today would result in a 20 year sentence. Rose is in just such a predicament. With today's athletes facing murder and drug charges, Rose's illegal gambling wagers seem almost petty. But I recognize they are not.
Everyone agrees that Rose's accomplishments on the field would automatically put him in the Hall of Fame. It's the off-field antics that have Rose in hot water. Yet by now, Rose surely has paid for his crime.
Underlying much of this discussion is the fact that Rose unfortunately is a surly character. He's gruff and abrasive, crude and unapologetic. He's not a poster child for any Hall of Fame. Yet to isolate his highlights in baseball place him among the all-time elite in that sport. And for those accomplishments alone he deserves to be in baseball's highest circle.
I firmly believe that this coming year will see Rose apologize and baseball agree to place him back in favor. Then it's up to the voters to decide if Rose should gain Hall of Fame admission. If his exploits turn off voters and he fails to gain admission, then so be it. I doubt that would happen however.
Compared to some in baseball and other sports, Rose is an angel. But the Rose issue deals with the Hall of Fame and that's a sticky matter. Regardless, Rose has served his time and deserves his last at-bat.