Friday, August 09, 2013

A-Rod and Pete Rose

In the wake of MLB suspending 13 players, 12 agreeing to the suspensions and Alex Rodriguez appealing.  (Well, he did get a 211 game suspension.  On the other hand, he refused to cooperate with MLB and apparently worked hard to obstruct their investigation.)

As expected, this story raised the issue of Pete Rose's banishment from the Hall of Fame.  Guys you'd think would know better, like Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald put forward that Pete Rose the manager shouldn't be allowed in the Hall but Pete Rose the player should - because it was Pete Rose the manager who bet on baseball.

A little disingenuous there, Barry.

1. Pete Rose was a player-manager.  If you concede he bet on baseball as a manager, then he also bet on baseball as a player.

2.  Pete Rose is all over the Hall NOW.  His days with the Big Red Machine, his records - all recorded and displayed in the Hall.  His name is not redacted.

3.  You display a shocking lack of knowledge of baseball's history.  In the first decades of the 20th century, horse racing and boxing were more popular than baseball.  But they did share something in common with America's pastime:  they were populated by gamblers and the mob, and it was common for races/bouts to be fixed.  The 1919 Black Sox weren't outed until the following season, in the wake of a Cubs-Phillies game that was thrown.  And during the 1919 Series, why were Christie Mathewson and Hugh Fullerton* so suspicious so soon?  Because they knew of other games that had been fixed.  And Fullerton had been tipped off before the Series started.  And Edd Roush of the Reds had been approached before the Series by a different syndicate of gamblers to throw the Series.
*Hugh Fullerton covered the Series for Chicago paperse; Christy Mathewson for a New York paper.

The game was rife with fixes and attempts to clean it up before 1919.  The same Christy Mathewson, while manager, suspended 1B Hal Chase in 1916 for offering bribes to players to throw games.  Chase was reinstated shortly thereafter when Mathewson went off to WWI.

Manager John McGraw co-owned a saloon in NYC with Arnold Rothstein.

In the wake of the 1919 Series trial, creating of the Commissioner's office, and banishment of the White Sox 8, Hal Chase was also banished from the game.  Later, in 1926 reports of Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker consorting with gamblers and fixing games cropped up.  In 1927 Landis cleared Cobb & Speaker, returned them to active status (AL Pres. Ban Johnson had suspended them in 1926).  But it is believed Landis did so in spite of the evidence to repair baseball's reputation.