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East Carolina Hall of Famer and
former baseball coach Keith LeClair.
 (Photo: ECU Media Relations)

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Editor's note: This feature
coordinated by Denny O'Brien.


From The Dugout

By Keith LeClair

Pete Rose: Hall of Fame, or outside looking in?

That's the million dollar question gripping the sports world this past week after Pete Rose finally admitted betting on baseball games while he was a manager. The question now will be asked — is that enough to clear his name and get him into the baseball Hall of Fame?

This controversial question may never go away for years to come. Many oppose Rose and feel he should never be inducted into the Hall of Fame, while others think his name should be etched right up their with the all- time greats.

It's indisputable that Pete Rose is one of the all time greats to ever play the game, collecting over four thousand hits and being named to the all star game seventeen times. Pete Rose played the game hard everyday and was often called Charlie Hustle for his reckless abandon style of play. His notorious head first slides became overshadowed when he ran over Ray Fosse in an all-star game, knocking him out with a dislocated shoulder and ending his season.

I grew up in the Pete Rose era and truly admired the way he played the game. Pete Rose was not your prototype great athlete that made things look easy. He was a blue collar guy that had to out-hustle everyone else to become the player he was. Very seldom did you ever see Pete wearing a clean uniform at the end of the game and amazingly he was rarely on the DL.

Pete Rose was the type of guy who you loved to manage and hated to coach against.he was a player that would try to win at all cost, which helped propel the Cincinnati Reds to their dominance in the 70s. A player of his style and nature is a rare commodity in today's game. Whether you love him or hate him, you cant deny what the man accomplished as a player throughout his career.

Now the million dollar question. Should he be included in the baseball Hall of Fame despite his ties to gambling during his tenure as a manager? This past week he has admitted to betting on baseball games, but said that he never bet against his own team. Nor did he place any of those bets from the clubhouse from which he managed.

The main question that is being raised now is how much influence did he play in deciding the outcome of games. Was he managing to win games or to cover the spread? I cannot answer those questions, nor can anyone else except Pete Rose and the other folks involved. I have a hard time understanding that a man can place over 500 bets on baseball games without a single coach on his staff not knowing. That seems rather suspicious given the amount of time a staff spends together throughout a 162-game season. But nonetheless, the fact is Pete Rose bet on baseball games, which is one of the worst taboos in the game.

In every locker room across Major League baseball and throughout the minor leagues is a poster warning you on gambling. So, it's not like the topic is never brought to your attention and the consequences that will follow if your temptation becomes to great.

With all this said it's about time I give you my take on this situation and open it up for debate. I will just pretend to be Bud Selig for a day and drop the hammer down on Pete Rose, whether to reinstate him or ban him from the game forever. First, I must say Pete Rose's attitude towards what he has done to the game with his gambling addiction has stunk. He comes across very arrogant and unapologetic about what he has done in his gambling endeavors. The man has a severe gambling addiction and it appears he really doesn't care, nor wants help. This attitude of deceit and lies over the years is what has turned off many fans and owners over the years.

Although I personally do not like the way he has handled himself, I must ask myself should we ban him from the game forever. The answer is yes. I don't think Pete Rose should ever be given another chance to manage a big league game again or work in any organization that involves MLB or minor league baseball. For years, he bet on the game and has shown no remorse for doing so yet. I have seen no indication in his demeanor that would say he has changed. He knew the risk when he began betting on baseball and must stand up to those responsibilities that come with being caught.

This may seem awfully harsh, but one thing that will taint the game worse than anything is gambling. Yes, I know all about drug use or steroid abuse and all the other players that have had second chances. Although, these are great questions, the impact it has on the game is not the same as managers and players betting on the game. If Major League baseball didn't take a firm stand on gambling, we would enter into another Black Sox scandal of the modern era. I will say that steroid abuse is going to impact the game on statistical history, which also is another alarming debate. But that's a topic for another day.

Now that I have banned Pete Rose from the game, let's talk about the Hall of Fame. In my mind, Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame without a doubt. What he accomplished on the field should not be judged by what took place when he was a manager. The man has more hits than anyone else that has ever played MLB. As a player, he gave his heart and soul to the game with more passion than anyone in history. What is the Hall of Fame to begin with? It's a collection of statistics that measures whether you have the numbers to get in or not. It's not based on whether you're a good guy and how popular you were during the days you played.

If that is the case, many guys that are in the Hall of Fame today would have to be kicked out. Ty Cobb was perhaps one of the dirtiest players ever to lace up a pair of cleats. Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame whether you like him or not. In my eyes, banning Pete from the game is punishment enough and has nothing to do with his accomplishments as a player.

Well, I stuck my neck out on the line writing on this controversial subject, now its your turn to respond. What do you think? Let's take a poll. Should Pete Rose be banned from the game or reinstated? Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame or never be inducted.

Fire your best pitch at ole Condo: Sound off to Coach LeClair about Pete Rose...

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02.23.07 10:27 AM


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