When you are asked about the biggest individual player scandal in baseball history, there really is no other answer other than the Pete Rose scandal. Despite being the all time hits leader in history, a former MVO and a three time World Series champion, he still isn’t a Hall of Famer. The reason behind this is the massive gambling scandal that surrounds him, and it is always one of the most hotly contested arguments in baseball (whether he should be inducted or not). Here in this article I will look at both how Rose was as a player, as well as the massive scandal that has surrounded him for the past few decades.
Right from his rookie season in the MLB, Pete Rose was something special. He hit .273 and won the Rookie of the Year award with 17 of 20 votes. For the next 20+ years, Rose continued to wow crowds across the country with his hitting prowess. While his power was nothing to write home about as he only had 160 career home runs, he holds the all time MLB record for hits with 4,256 (a record that will likely never be broken as the next closest active player is over 1,000 hits away). In addition to this, he holds the record for most plate appearances by any player (15,890) and the record for most games played with (3,562, which equated to a 23 year career). With numbers like this, he would be a sure-fire pick for the Hall of Fame had it not been for one single thing, his massive gambling scandal.
In 1989, three years after retiring as a player, there were questions and rumours surrounding the fact that he may have bet on baseball while both playing and managing. And in August of that year, Rose agreed to a permanent ineligibility from baseball amdist the accusations, which included betting on his own team. Then, in 1991, the MLB made the choice to permanently ban all those on the “permanent ineligibility” list from induction into the Hall of Fame.
For years, Rose denied all of these claims but finally (in 2004) Rose admitted that he did indeed bet on baseball, but never the Reds. This was front page news everywhere as he had been denying these claims for well over a decade prior to admitting. Despite this admission, many still believe he did in fact bet on the Reds, but would likely never admit it.
This has led to a major issue amongst those in MLB circles; should Rose be inducted or not. There are a ton of people on both sides of the argument and both have their points. Those in favor of inducting him believe it is a travesty that the best hitter and one of the best players of all time isn’t in the Hall, while those opposed to it believe that putting a lying, gambling player in would be a bad example, no matter how good they are. Even though this scandal took place decades ago, the conversation is still as heated as ever.