30 Years Ago, on February 4th, 1991: Pete Rose Was Banned for Life from the Baseball Hall of Fame for Gambling on Games

Lewis and Red’s great Eric Davis circa 2013

Maybe I am blinded by my lifelong Red’s fandom. I will be honest, Pete is not a nice person. He can’t seem to get out of his own way, but he LOVES baseball. Maybe too much.

Let’s take a look back at this whole saga for a second….

It’s just a few days after the Baseball Hall of Fame announced no players received enough votes to be inducted this year; the first time that’s happened in decades.


The reason: Baseball Hall of Fame voting is a mess.  Much like a club bouncer drunk on whatever power he possesses, the aging writers who vote on the Baseball Hall of Fame wield their outsized influence like a bunch of vengeful poindexters, denying players their vote on the back of flimsy, serpentine high-horsed morality.


Just this week, players with some of the best stats in history like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Manny Ramirez were again denied the votes to make it into the Hall because a number of writers have dug in their heels on the PED era.  Curt Schilling was denied the votes because he’s one of the worst people on the planet with a coagulated bloody sock where his soul is supposed to be.


All of these players easily have the resumes to not just be in the Hall of Fame, but for a few of them, be among the best players in the Hall of Fame.  But none will get in because of the often nebulous morality police work of the baseball writers.


The Pete Rose scandal, 30 years ago today, established this precedent. While his ban was an official one handed down by Major League Baseball (not an unofficial one by the writers), it set the precedent: The Hall of Fame can, on a subjective case-by-case basis, come down to more than on-field performance.


Pete Rose (much like the guys I mentioned earlier) is no hero nor role model.  He did bet on baseball (although not his team), he did jail time for tax evasion, and his approach to the Hall of Fame ban and the events leading to the ban has often been less than contrite or diplomatic.


But statistically?  He’s one of the best ever.  And the precedent of his ban here continues to cast a pall over the Hall of Fame.