As I was preparing for my appearance last week on the MLB Network, a macabre though kept going through my head: Just my luck, Pete Rose would decide, given the recent decision by Commissioner Rob Manfred to keep the lifetime ban in place, that he had nothing left to love for and would commit suicide (I told you it was macabre). And there would go my time slot.
Thankfully that didn’t happen, but it did get me thinking that there has to be at least one more book in this sad saga, if not just about Rose then about other cheaters and the possibility of one day getting a plaque in Cooperstown. That point was reinforced by a piece in The New York Times’ “The Opinion Pages: Room for Debate” asking the overall question, “Should Rose, Bonds, and Clemens be in the Hall of Fame?”
Four “debaters” answered, coming down on all side, if you agree that Bonds and Clemens are a matched set because of “suspected” PED use: All in (As per writer Wendy Thurm); all out (author Bijan C. Bayne); Rose in, B&C out (Maurice Schweitzer, Wharton School of Business); Rose out, B&C in (Dan Epstein, author of two books about baseball in the 1970s). Reminds me of those genetics tables in high school biology.
Some people would say there have already been too many books about Rose. He himself has published a couple after he was “terminated” from baseball, including Pete Rose: My Story, written with Roger Kahn, and My Prison Without Bars which he wrote with Rich Hill, both of which sought to make him a sympathetic character. Perhaps more balanced was Kostya Kennedy’s Pete Rose: An American Dilemma, which earned Spitball Magazine‘s prestigious Casey Award in 2014).