I met Pete Rose in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at an autograph signing in the year 2000. He greeted me with a smile, signed my card, I said thank you sir and he replied, "You're Welcome son." As a 19 year old hot head in my first year of college I could appreciate Pete's history.
What is & What should be are seldom the same. The Natural Laws of Opposites or Opposing forces are stated in Newton's Law, Cause & Effect Theory and Philosophical Contemplations dating back to 500 BC. One man positively lauded and admired for his relentless attitude of absolute determination is also negatively ostracized and punished for his selfish pursuits and accomplishments which create feelings of jealousy and disdain. A team athlete is meant to perform for the success of his team, but individual greatness can lead youthful minds to act in vain.
We live in a society that functions on a rule system and when people choose to disobey the rules they face the consequences. However, not every person or crime is treated the same. Peter Edward Rose was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and as a youth became a member of the Order of DeMolay, an organization that mentors young men, teaches them leadership skills and personal & civic responsibility. Rose excelled in baseball and football, but was not especially enamored with academics so after high school he opted to play AA baseball. Rose had an uncle who was a scout for the Cincinnati Reds which helped Pete get a shot with the Big club, although with Pete's ability and hard work he would've eventually made it to the Majors.
Pete Rose played baseball with a reckless abandon. He brought that football player's mentality of toughness and grit onto the baseball field. Pitcher Whitey Ford gave Pete the nick-name "Charlie Hustle," because of his garish play. Rose drew a walk against Ford's Yankees and proceeded into a full-out sprint to first base in a spring training game. This manner of play earned Pete the recognition of his peers and fans. He exuded a love of the game & a desire to be great that which had never been seen. Not everyone appreciated the way Rose played the game, but they had to respect his tenacity. Pete broke Ty Cobb's All Time Hit Record and finished with 4,256 career hits, 3 World Series Titles, 18 All-Star Games and an MVP Award in the 1973 regular season as well as the '75 World Series.
Rose lived life just as he played baseball; Fast & Hard. Suffice to say Pete bent the rules because when one is so great and loved so much, consequences don't exist. He bet on himself and his team. He knew a wager on himself was as sure a bet as any because no one would ever try harder for the victory than Pete Rose would. Unfortunately for Pete, the rules do apply to everyone, even those with superior talent and enthusiasm. Pete Rose will get in the Hall of Fame one day, probably posthumously, and he deserves the distinction. He may have lacked in ethics & morals off the field, but Rose brought so much love & passion to the game of baseball on the field, his legacy will always be of the latter.