To the editor:
As a longtime fan of the sport of baseball, I strongly believe that it is certainly now time for all-time baseball great Pete Rose to be given his just due and be permitted by the powers that be to be a candidate for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Rose, for many baseball fans, was the face of Major League Baseball throughout much of the 1960s, the entire 1970s and into the 1980s.
Statistically, to this day, Rose remains the all-time major league leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,552) and at-bats (14,053); is second in doubles (746); and seventh in total bases (5752), making him unmistakably one of the greatest and most productive players in the long history of our national pastime.
Rose was the personification of a team baseball icon, both on and off the field, as evidenced by his great hustle, positive attitude and skill on the field as well as his nearly unparalleled accessibility to media and fans off the field during his long and illustrious career as as professional baseball player.
Rose's exclusion from the Mount Olympus of baseball is a result of his betting in support of teams for which he had played or managed, which is certainly a violation of one of the most sacred of baseball laws.
However, a fairly large number of baseball greats, mainly from baseball's earlier days, routinely gambled and committed acts "not in the best interests of baseball," but such did not keep them from being ultimately honored with selection into the hall.
Remember, pro football greats Paul Hornung and Alex Karras also were caught gambling in the early 1960s, but were punished by their sport with a one-year suspension and were permitted to return to their respective teams following their relatively short hiatus, with Hornung eventually being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Karras becoming a respected analyst on the popular "Monday Night Football" broadcasts, as well as a popular actor on television and films following completion of their careers as active players.
I feel the lifetime ban imposed on Rose is unreasonably harsh, and his banishment from the sport of baseball, which began in 1989, should at long last be rescinded.
The point of setting an example in the punishment of Rose was made long ago.
What perhaps may have appeared to be just punishment now appears to be excessive and vindictive.
Rose, at the age of 72, should be permitted to be reinstated to the fraternity of former Major League Baseball players and be a candidate for induction into the hall of fame, an honor, I, and many, feel he so richly deserves.