TAMPA — For those of you who thought the words Pete Rose and “in the Hall of Fame” would appear in the same sentence without the words “not” or “banned for life,” this one’s for you. Pete Rose will be inducted in the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame on Feb. 18 at Tropicana Field in Tampa. He’ll be inducted along with former Detroit slugger Willie Horton.
On hand for a free autograph session are Rose, Tony Perez, Al Kaline, Kevin Kiermaier, Luis Tiant, Tony Oliva, Denny McLain, Kevin Cash, Jack Billingsly, Jake Odorizzi, Howard Johnson, Dante Bichette, Darrell Evans, Toby Hall, Jake Wood and Luke Maille.
This will be his first Hall of Fame outside of his native Ohio. Of course, Pete made the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame last June, when he said, “To date, this is the biggest thing ever to happen to me in baseball.” He also called Cincinnati “the baseball capital of the world.”
And Major League Baseball saluted him at the 2015 All-Star Game to the delight of fans. Nevertheless, the commissioner’s office is not bending on his ban from baseball, which includes eligibility to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, though his story as Charlie Hustle and the game’s most prolific hitter and Big Red Machine teammate is well told. However, a plaque in the great hall evades him for his betting on baseball. It’s the season for former American presidents to commute sentences for drug traffickers and such. But Pete Rose, who served time, can’t cut a break with the self-righteous office of Major League Baseball.