It has been over twenty years since Pete Rose was dealt a lifetime ban from major league baseball, and the once sprightly Charlie Hustle is now 71 years old. Pete has been punished, he has been demoralized and taken down many notches; isn't it about time we show some forgiveness and give the hits king a little thanks?
Yes, of course, Pete deserved and got what was coming to him. He bet on baseball, he compromised the integrity of the game, yadda, yadda, yadda. But he didn't cheat. He didn't pump himself up with illegal substances to be something he was not. What Pete Rose was, was all Pete Rose. And love him or hate him, Pete Rose was one of the greatest ballplayers to ever set foot on the field.
Having lived in Cincinnati for over 30 years, I remember the excitement and palpable anticipation waiting for him to get "the hit" - number 4,192 - that would give him more than any player in history. It was all anybody talked about at the time and made it feel like the World Series was being played in town every night.
Pete Rose let a lot of people down when it became clear he bet on baseball, but that doesn't erase the career he had as a player, the joy he brought to millions of fans, or the records he holds.
It seems clear at this point that Major League Baseball has no intention of reinstating Pete Rose, and even if they did, his story is still controversial and he would need to muster the votes to get into the Hall of Fame. Yet here in Cincinnati, where he was once, and to many still is, our hometown hero; can't we do something to honor Pete after all these years?
The Cincinnati Reds should retire Pete Rose's number. Even if they can't bring him into the stadium and honor him on the field, they should take his number 14 and put it up there among the others displayed in Great American Ball Park. They can do it quietly, without any hoopla; place it up there late one night to show that a great ball player named Pete Rose played for the Reds, and regardless of what has transpired, we recognize his contribution.
It's not as if any Cincinnati Reds player would ever wear his number anyway - there will be no other number 14 for the Cincinnati Reds whether his number is officially retired or not. If the Reds organization won't retire his number, maybe the fans can take up this charge, and bring their own cut out poster board circles, with the number 14 on them, and stick them to the stadium for all to see and send a message.
Pete Rose isn't getting any younger, and while we hope he will be with us for many years to come, he may not. Let's not wait until it is too late for him to finally feel appreciated again, forgive him for his bad choices, and thank him for being the outstanding baseball player he once was.
Lisa is a married mother of two living in the suburbs of Cincinnati . She is a long-time Reds fans yet was away at college when the 1990 Cincinnati Reds won the World Series and was not able to attend games or celebrate appropriately. She looks forward to the day when the Reds win it all again.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Pete Rose
- Cincinnati Reds
- major league baseball