Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

ROSE AND THE HALL OF FAME Baseball Musings makes an interesting point vis a vis Pete Rose and the Baseball Hall of Fame: he's no lock for admission if reinstated. The basic point: you need the vote of 75% of voters to be admitted into the Hall. That means that 25% plus one, a not terribly large minority, can block the admission of any candidate. Great hitter though he was, it's not totally far-fetched to think that anti-Rose elements, with a little skillful campaigning, could meet that relatively low threshold.

Rose may be caught in a Catch-22. There are basically three types of people with respect to Pete Rose: people who think he bet on baseball and therefore shouldn't be admitted to the Hall of Fame (anti-Rose), people who think he bet on baseball but should be admitted to the Hall of Fame anyway (pro-Rose), and people who don't know whether or not he bet on baseball and therefore don't want to prejudge whether he should be admitted into the Hall of Fame (undecided). Right now, there doesn't seem to be an anti-Rose majority among fans, writers or players, which is why Rose is even getting the opportunity to come clean and get reinstated. But that's the heart of Rose's problem: he has to come clean to get reinstated. He has to admit that he bet on baseball. And once he does that, the undecideds will melt away. Rose has to, ahem, gamble that enough of the undecideds go over to the "eh, what the hell, why not?" side to push him over the 75% threshold. And I'm not sure that's such a great bet.

Also, former Commissioner of Baseball Fay Vincent pointed out in the Times recently, Rose is running out of time. Since he stopped playing in 1986, he only has until 2006 to get into the Hall via regular election. After that, he'll have to go to the Veterans Committee, which, as Vincent points out, is pretty stingy when it comes to admitting overlooked players into the noble brotherhood of the Hall.

If I were a betting man like Rose, I'd say he's probably got a less than 50-50 chance of being admitted to the Hall, even if Selig reinstates him. I'm curious to see what happens.