Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time career hit leader, is also one of the most outrageous creeps ever to play the game, which is just as remarkable an accomplishment when one considers competition like Cap Anson, Hal Chase, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. The amazing thing is that Pistol Pete keeps adding to his jerk resume even now, and he’s 81 years old.
Rose was my very first American Ethics Dunce when the now inactive Ethics Scoreboard debuted in January of 2004. I wrote then,
Pete Rose now admits he bet on baseball (after ten years of lying about it) but says that his bets (always in favor of his team, never against it, he says) as manager of the Cincinnati Reds never effected his management decisions, and thus he did not harm the integrity of the game. He feels he should be let back into the game as a manager.
A couple of things, Pete:
1) Even if this were true, fans of the game cannot put their faith in the outcome of games when they know that those who help determine the outcome might be motivated by their wagers. This is the reason that we call “the appearance of impropriety” an ethical problem.
2) Presumably you did not bet on the Reds when a key player was sitting out, or when your starting pitcher wasn’t feeling good. Right? Or are we supposed to believe that you bet large amounts of money while already in debt to bookies in circumstances when you thought you would lose? So every time you didn’t bet on the Reds, you were sending information to the bookies, and it affected their odds on the game. Got it?
3) You say you never bet against the Reds. You used to say you never bet on baseball. You’re a liar. Why should anyone believe you now?
Later, the Scoreboard made Pete the first (and so far only) Ethics Dunce Emeritus after he admitted that in fact he did bet on every Reds game as a manager. (I really need to add Bill Clinton to the Ethics Dunce Emeritus ranks, among others. Remind me.)After I moved over to Ethics Alarms in 2009, Pete kept making ethics news. We found out, for example, that Rose used a corked bat, which is illegal, while he played. So much for his “I didn’t break any rules while I was playing” claim. Pete also admitted that, well, yes, he bet on games while he was playing too, which he had denied for decades. Periodically, he has made overtures to Major League Baseball to forgive and forget, and most important to Pete, let him into the Hall of Fame, from which he has been banned. These efforts have actually had some value, as Pete’s arguments span the breadth of unethical rationalizations: I discussed this here, in 2015.
But in unethical conduct, just like on the playing field, the hits just keep on coming for Pete Rose.An online sports website paid him to help promote its activities in Ohio by placing the first legal sports bet at the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati on Jan. 1, 2023, one minute after midnight, when sports betting becomes legal in the state. Pete had previously pronounced himself as a gambling addict, but the scummy gambling operations are happy to enable that addiction, and Pete will do anything for a buck, including flaunting the reason he was banned from baseball. We learned about the casino deal this month, and —I would normally say “incredibly” here, but Pete is such an idiot that it is completely credible—Rose has picked this same month to write again to a baseball Commissioner (Pete probably helped kill the one that initially banned him, Bart Giamatti), this time writing to Rob Manfred, pleading,
“Despite my many mistakes, I am so proud of what I accomplished as a baseball player. I am the Hit King and it is my dream to be considered for the Hall of Fame. Like all of us, I believe in accountability. I am 81 years old and know that I have been held accountable and that I hold myself accountable. I write now to ask for another chance.”
11 thoughts on “If It’s Any Consolation, Pete, If Ethics Alarms Had An Ethics Dunce Hall Of Fame, You’d Be The First One In…”
Calling Charlie Hustle (boy, ‘hustle’ is surely apt) “Pistol Pete” is a disservice to Pete Marovich, a stan up guy who died way too young.
Though some would say he lasted amazingly long for a guy with only three chambers in his heart!
A really amazing guy. And a complete physical freak as a basketball player. I wonder whether Steph Curry will take his place in the pantheon of shooters.
I have long maintained that if the BBWAA ever voted people like Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, or Rodriguez into the HOF, I would want Pete Rose there as well. I no longer hold that opinion. I don’t want any of them in the Hall…ever. Rose’s situation is a bit different than the roiders because his cheating didn’t add to his own strength and overinflate his numbers like those who used banned substances. Betting on baseball didn’t make his batting average or slugging percentage better so as to make other great players – like Fred McGriff – look more average and hurt their chances for induction.
But hitting aside, letting Rose into the Hall is a slap in the face to all the other managers enshrined there that worked hard, led their teams with integrity, and whose decisions were not influenced by the illegal bets they secretly placed with a bookie.
Pete Rose doesn’t deserve that exalted honor any more than Barry Bonds does.
Pete’s angle now is that because Major League Baseball is promoting online betting on games—the fools—this has mitigated his offenses, and offensiveness. It hasn’t. The fact that baseball has allowed itself to be corrupted like all the other professional sports doesn’t change Pete Rose’s status as a cheating, lying, disgrace to the game one tiny bit.
Perhaps this has more relevance in the world of drug use, prostitution, and other realms of the sort, but what is the ethical thing to do when the nation legalizes an activity that carried a criminal charge, prison sentence, lifelong registration, and so on? If someone is serving a prison term for drug use, and that use then becomes legalized, should he be de facto released? I would think that there is a strong argument to be made that if one broke the law, even if that action later became legalized, it speaks to the character of the person that he was willing to break the law in the first place. However, changing the law seems to carry with it an acknowledgement that the once-illegal activity is not worth criminalizing. If that judgment is made, how is it ethical to continue punishing someone for that act?
Certainly my line of reasoning says that each such illegal-made-legal activity requires its own analysis. Jailing someone for political disagreement tends to see the prisoner freed when the politics change. But that is because we recognize that freedom of speech is itself an intrinsic good, and discarding a law that cracks down opposition is also a good thing. And we can honestly say, with the backing of reason, that the prisoner here should never have been imprisoned in the first place. The legalization of a recreational drug, however, does not seem to carry with it the positive connotation. Instead, I think there is a tacit acknowledgement that the use of the drug is ultimately harmful, even among advocates for legalization, because the rationalizations used are that users aren’t hurting anyone by using, so what’s the big deal? In this there may be cause to keep the sentence in place.
Of course, I’m not very well-versed legally, and so I don’t know if there are already laws and precedents in place that already answer this question.
I could be wrong, but as far as I am aware baseball has not legalized what Rose did. Yes, they have embraced fans betting on baseball and bellied up to the gambling trough to suck in some more bucks.
But I would be more than surprised if they have made it legal for players and coaches within baseball to gamble on the game. Which is what he did. It was against the rules then, it still is now.
What annoys me the most about his apology letter is that it barely, if at all, ventures beyond the motif that “I’ve suffered enough.”
He acknowledges that his actions have disappointed family, friends, and co-workers, but seems to believe that if he is admitted to the Hall of Fame, it will fix all that (?). No, he seems to understand that getting admitted to the Hall of Fame will make HIM feel better, but they get kind of lost in the shuffle.
Its sadly pathetic.
Re: Pete Rose’s advanced age. “Only the good die young.” and “some people don’t grow up; they just get older.”
I always preferred Rod Carew or Tony Gwinn among high output, low power hitters. I know the point of hitting is to get on base and hit ’em where they ain’t, but Charlie Hustle always struck me as an annoying slap single hitter. A one trick pony. And his demeanor always said, “I’m a jerk.”
I posted this to an Open Forum a bit back, but relevant again: https://www.millcreeksports.com/pete-rose-autograph-signing-1/
From that link:
“I’m Sorry” Baseball Autograph Ticket: $109 for baseballs with “I’m Sorry I Bet On Baseball” inscription. Pete Rose will not be doing this inscription for any other item.
Yeah, sure! Sorry to the tune of a hundred bucks for a fake apology.
BTW, Mike Tyson will be at the same event. No word on the price of signed pig ears.