Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Gammons [Print without images]

Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Updated: January 8, 12:36 AM ET
Rose shows lack of respect

By Peter Gammons
Special to ESPN.com

I have always maintained that if Bud Selig decreed Pete Rose eligible for the Hall of Fame pending the vote of the Baseball Writers Association, I would vote for him as a player. Now I hear Bud is going to issue a two-year probation and make Rose eligible only by the vote of the veterans' committee. Fine. Because these last two days have made me rethink my initial decision to vote for him.

First, in betting on baseball as manager -- a position that demands standards higher than those for players -- Rose demonstrated a complete lack of respect or caring for the game.

Then came this week. Turning around on Bart Giamatti? Despicable.

Also, the fact that he has orchestrated the release of his book and his admission of guilt at a time when Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor -- two great people who overcame a lot, which Rose hasn't yet -- are being elected is a bold statement that he has no respect for Cooperstown, and that he wants to be in the Hall for one reason -- to make money to feed his addictions.

This is a man who admitted something in a forum in which he can make money. He has no remorse, no respect for anything but his next bet. Rose is perhaps the lowest figure in baseball in my 32 years of covering the sport.

Fay Vincent, a very good man who deserves all of baseball's apologies for the way he was treated, refuted that "the fans want Pete in Cooperstown" argument by pointing out that, in 1947, 15 of 16 owners voted not to allow Jackie Robinson into the majors -- and 85 percent of Americans were against such integration, too. Well, what Branch Rickey did against public opinion, seven years before Brown v. Board of Education, is the single most important moment in baseball and sports history, proof that it's not about what the majority wants at one moment. It's about what's right.

And until Pete Rose proves to me that he cares about something other than Pete Rose, he does not have my vote.

Eckersley had addiction problems, admitted them, confronted them and became a Hall of Famer. Same with Molitor.

What they did never impaired the integrity of baseball.

As far as I'm concerned, Rose can go to Cooperstown and sign tawdry items for those who, like him, have no respect for integrity, baseball or the Hall of Fame.