Should Pete Rose Be Allowed in the Hall of Fame After He Dies?

Do you think that MLB should expand the “lifetime ban” from baseball to include making a player eligible for Hall of Fame chances only after they pass on?

In other words, what if the lifetime ban (instead of meaning a vague “forever”) actually meant “until he is dead and buried” and not alive to enjoy his long-delayed honor?

These are questions that not many people seem to talk about, but a few years ago the topic inadvertently (accidentally) came up.

It happened after Ron Santo died.

Gone, but not forgotten.

Ron Santo, the great Chicago Cubs third basemen in the 1960s, was not alive to see his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall’s Golden Era committee voted Santo in for the 2012 ceremony 18 months after Santo’s passing.

The gesture was also almost 40 years after Santo hung up his cleats, which means that Santo probably thought he’d never make it into the Hall.

What a shame. Santo would have been touched to know he made it into the Hall. But at least he’s in.

Was it unfair to Santo that his death prompted the committee of voters to consider his candidacy more seriously? It seems like a strange thing to do.

However, it causes us to think. What if that approach was used “strategically” to deal with some players who are not as beloved as Santo?

What if all the controversial players who may have a hard time getting voted into the Hall of Fame were ushered in only after they died?
Gruesome? Maybe not.

Let’s talk about Pete Rose.

“Banned for life!
Pete Rose, the disgraced Cincinnati Reds player—one of the greatest players of all time—was banned from baseball for life in 1989 by then Commissioner Bart Giamatti for gambling on baseball.

(NOTE: Rose had retired only three years earlier; the standard time for a former player to become eligible for the Hall of Fame is five years after they have retired.)

Two years after he was banished from baseball, the Hall of Fame enacted a change to make permanently banned players ineligible for the Hall. In other words, as long as Rose is banned from baseball for life, he will never be in the Hall.

But what about when he dies?
Yes, that will not change the fact that he bet on baseball. But what’s the effect of the ban?

It essentially bars him from public admiration and accolades while he is alive, which is what he feels he deserves.
Don’t you think it would it be okay to allow him in after he is no longer around to enjoy that day when he will be enshrined in the Hall?

Pete isn’t alone.
Pete Rose isn’t the only player who might deserve to be in the Hall of Fame for his achievements, but who may never get it.

What about other baseball players whose stats say they deserve to be in the Hall, but whose personal lives and/or behavior may keep them out because the Baseball Writers of America (and Hall voters) despise them?

These are some of the great players who allegedly, and some admittedly, used performance-enhancing drugs:
McGwire. Clemens. A-Rod.

And the all-time greatest home run hitter in MLB history. Does he deserve a place in the Hall?
Let’s look at Barry Bonds, for example.

Bailing Bonds.

Should the voters wait until current controversial players (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire) have passed away to start considering their merits for the HOF?

Bonds has been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2013, but he has yet to be voted in.

Imagine what people would say about Barry Bonds after he passes away:
• He hit more home runs than any other player in MLB history, 762
• He was a 14-time All-Star and a 7-time NL MVP
• He set numerous single-season records, including most home runs and most intentional walks

You could say that Bonds had two MLB careers: before and after PEDs.

Prior to the 2000 season (around the time he allegedly starting using performing-enhancing drugs), he had already been a 3-time MVP, an 8-time NL All-Star and had hit more than 30 home runs in nine different seasons.

His numbers starting in and after the 2000 season were jaw-dropping:
• He was the MVP four straight years (2001–2004) and runner-up once
• He broke Mark McGwire’s home run record, slugging 73 in 2001
• The following three seasons, he slugged 46, 45 and 45 homers

Certainly, it’s not too late NOW for voters to allow him into Cooperstown, but roughly half of the HOF voters still feel he doesn’t deserve to be recognized.

At least, not now. Not in this lifetime.
Or should that be in his lifetime.

Bonds is despised by most baseball fans and purists, and his association with PEDs will likely keep him out of the Hall of Fame…along with Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and others.

At least as long as they’re alive.

Only Pete Rose has the permanent illegibility attached to his name. (Yes, former Mets closer Jenrry Mejia has also been “banned for life,” but he will never appear on Hall of Fame ballot. The surprising twist is that as of Jan. 2018 he was close to being reinstated to sign with the Mets¬—loose wording in the drug policy rules will allow him to apply for reinstatement now that enough time has passed.)

As far as Rose, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred rejected Pete’s request for reinstatement in 2015.

And Pete Rose is not giving up. In September of 2016, his attorneys wrote a letter to the Hall of Fame requesting that they reconsider their ban on Rose, saying that Rose has accepted the banishment from MLB, but not loss of eligibility for the Hall.

His plea didn’t change anyone’s mind.

Pete Rose probably won’t stop banging on the Hall of Fame’s doors until he’s dead.

But maybe then, and only then, will that make a difference.

Photo Credit URLs: