By Lyle Fitzsimmons
As a Cincinnati Reds fan, I’ve been saying it for 25 years.
Though he’s long been known for a loathsome personality, one Peter Edward Rose has more hits than anyone else who’s ever played major league baseball. Which means, without his plaque on the wall in the bucolic enclave of Cooperstown, N.Y., the National Baseball Hall of Fame is a fraud.
Meanwhile, just 69 miles northwest in the Syracuse suburb of Canastota, another such statement can be made about the home of stars in another sport. Though he had a career most would envy, if Arturo Gatti makes it onto the wall there next year, then the International Boxing Hall of Fame is an abject failure.
And with apologies to election-season poll heads, “likeability factor” should have nothing to do it.
While Rose is by consensus a lying egomaniac with a bloated sense of self, his performance on the field is measurably as good as anyone who’s ever gripped a bat. It’s a stark contrast to Gatti, who admittedly thrilled a generation of wide-eyed fans, but fell flat – literally – against the best of his peers.
Rose – a rookie of the year, an MVP, a three-time batting champion and a 17-time all-star – has been barred from enshrinement for more than two decades by voting rules concocted to punish him for being defiant, rather than reverential, when it came to explaining off-field foibles. [Click Here To Read More