Every year, like sparrows to Capistrano, when baseball talks about Hall of Fame candidates, discussion of PED users and Pete Rose returns. PED users are a separate discussion from Pete Rose. Pete is a discussion all by himself.

The argument for Pete Rose is fairly straightforward. Rose was a great player and is still MLB’s all time hit leader. Sure his betting and subsequently lying about it are despicable, but the Hall is filled with despicable guys. So, why not Pete?

The number one rule of baseball is….

The biggest no no in baseball for players is to bet on games.

Pete was aware of that, and undeterred, bet on games anyway. The fact that he bet on baseball when he was a manager on not a player doesn’t change the fact he violated baseball’s cardinal rule. Betting on his own team doesn’t excuse him, either. Beyond violating baseball’s prime directive, there are other things that need to be considered.

Let’s make a deal

Pete Rose agreed to a lifetime ban. Rose would not have agreed to that discipline if baseball didn’t have some pretty heavy stuff on him. I don’t know the details of Rose’s meeting with then baseball commissioner, Bart Giamatti, but strongly suspect we have no idea of the scope of Pete’s transgressions. Baseball has done a great job of not leaking information regarding that meeting between Giamatti and Rose.

I suspect the reason behind that is not because of baseball’s high moral standard, but more out of self preservation. If the details of that meeting were made public, it could be damaging to the game.

It makes cents (and dollars) to forget about it.

Think of how baseball was hurt by the Black Sox scandal. If people lack confidence in the integrity of the game it could have a huge financial impact.

Baseball surely doesn’t want that.

Liar, liar pants on fire

Remember the Dowd Report, and Jim Dowd? It seems as though Rose basically called Dowd a liar for years. Well, it turns out Rose was the liar. It seems like calling a guy a liar for 15 years when you are the one lying seems to at least warrant an apology. It would seem like if Pete was contrite, that would have happened.

When Ryan Braun questioned the competence/integrity of the man handling his drug test there was a stink about it. Braun ultimately apologized, but that stench lingers around him. What Rose has done dwarfs that in comparison.

Regular or premium?

While Pete has been quoted as saying, “I’d walk through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball” there is something else to consider. If Pete loves baseball so much, why does he keep gambling, or at least not try to get some help?

The ultimate stats padder

While Rose was undoubtedly a great player, and the all time hits leader, how he got there bears some scrutiny. Over the last six years of Pete’s playing career, he had a WAR of -1.6. That a guy could stick around that long and be that unproductive is astounding.

What manager would play a guy like that? Well, part of the time, Pete was the manager writing in the name, Pete Rose, in the lineup. Pete got the hits record at the expense of his team. By way of contrast, Ty Cobb had a WAR of 1.9 in the last year of his career.

Who cares?

As years go by, I care less and less about the Hall of Fame and who gets there. There are some many variables now. Some say Rose should get in, and he may ultimately make it. With all the lying and deceit and love of self, maybe Pete should get into politics.