People have strong opinions about Pete Rose.
It's understandable. Baseball's all-time hits king, holding a record that will likely never be broken, gambled on baseball both as a player and manager, and consistently lied to MLB officials about it. He was kicked out of the game, and after petitioning to return, admitted last year to Commissioner Rob Manfred that he still bet on baseball.
It's always all about Pete Rose, and baseball was right to uphold his ban. But there is no denying that, on the field, he was a very good baseball player.
On Tuesday, the Cincinnati Reds announced they were inducted Pete into their Hall of Fame.
This is as close he's going to get to enshrinement into any Hall of Fame. And given his long history with the Reds, being a member of The Big Red Machine and a two-time world champion in 1975 and '76, and being from the city of Cincinnati, it's understandable why the Reds are doing this.
But should the Phillies follow suit? Should the Phils consider adding Pete Rose into their Wall of Fame?
After all, Rose spent five years in Philly and helped get the Phils to two World Series. He was one of the main reasons they won their first title after 96 years of trying.
Previously, baseball's banishment of Rose also meant teams were not permitted to allow him to participate in ceremonies like the Wall of Fame. However, in his letter announcing that Rose's ban would remain in place, Manfred said Rose would be allowed to "participate in ceremonial activities that present no threat to the integrity of the game, provided that the activities are approved by me in advance."
I spoke to Phillies Vice President of Alumni Larry Shenk and asked him if that means the Phils would now be allowed to consider Rose for the Wall of Fame. He said...
"Manfred's decision means he could be a candidate. The Reds are going ahead and inducting him into their Hall of Fame. He could be a candidate for us."
However, Shenk, who is semi-retired but still plays a major role in the team's always-outstanding Wall of Fame ceremony, said it won't happen this year, saying...
"Every January we get together and come up with our list of candidates, and Rose is not on it this year. We are all set with our ballots for this year."
So while Rose won't be on the ballot for this year's induction ceremony, it is possible he could be there sometime in the near future.
And when you consider all the great moments Rose was a part of during his five-year run with the Phils, it seems like something that should happen.
Obviously, this was the play that Phils fans remember about Rose. One out, 9th inning, bases loaded, Game 6 of the 1980 World Series, and Rose is there to make the play.
Yeah, he ran through a stop sign. But Rose, trying to make things happen, got away with it. As he usually did.
Rose broke Stan Musial's NL hits record while with the Phillies in 1981. And for all his hard work, Pete enjoyed the spoils too.
I do love me some Grecian formula. And that hair. My goodness that hair.
Now look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you Rose was an all-world player for the Phillies while he was here. In five seasons, 1979-1983 (his age 38-42 seasons by the way), he hit .291/.365/.361 with an OPS+ of 101, a wRC+ of 104 and an fWAR of 3.8.
That 3.8 fWAR ranks 20th among all-time Phils first basemen, just behind Ricky Jordan and just ahead of Eddie Waitkus. But his .291 career batting average with the Phils was seventh-best in team history at the position, and his .365 on-base percentage was 10th best.
But as much as I respect and utilize numbers in analyzing players, Rose was one guy who seemingly added more value to his team than the numbers would indicate.
For whatever reason, Rose's presence seemed to help Mike Schmidt play better. He seemed to elevate the play of his teammates, especially in that 1980 season. He helped energize a team that had been given the label of "chokers" after falling short in the 1976, '77 and '78 NLCS.
He also helped lead them to another World Series in 1983, the most forgotten World Series in MLB history.
And when you consider some of the other members of that 1980 team that are already on the Wall, it would seem as if Rose needs to be included.
Already enshrined are Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski, Tug McGraw, Garry Maddox, and Bob Boone. Certainly, adding Rose to that list makes sense.
So, perhaps 2017 will be the year Rose gets his Wall of Fame induction. Ultimately, as it always does, it will come down to a fan vote. But fans should, at some point soon, be given the opportunity to either vote for, or against, him.