Stats ain’t everything

Tug McGraw died yesterday. He was one of those players to which baseball owes a debt of gratitude far deeper than someone who just puts up great numbers. This was put into sharp contrast yesterday, as Pete Rose changed his story and admitted that he bet on baseball games while a manager. (Sean Lahman has an excellent FAQ about the Rose case up until now, for those 2 or 3 baseball fans that have been living under a rock the last 14 years.)

There is no doubt whatsoever that Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame, if you go by numbers alone. In fact, if you put on blinders and divide his playing career from his managing days, there is nothing to separate “Charlie Hustle” from any of the other aggressive (i.e., mean and nasty) players like the former all-time hits leader, Ty Cobb.

So, why doesn’t it feel right? Now that he’s flip-flopped to sell his new book, it seems even more wrong.

I’ve been one to do that–let Rose slide for his indiscretions and say he belongs in the Hall. But while I’m sitting and looking at raw numbers saying, “That’s one of the players that best represents baseball,” players who did just as much (or more) to increase my enjoyment of the game are looking over my shoulder. These guys will never make the Hall, but I miss the way Tug McGraw, Mark Fidrych, Bill Lee, Al Hrabosky, Dan Quisenberry, Minnie Minoso and Tony Pena made baseball fun. If it becomes all about numbers, baseball is nothing more than just a game on paper. As fun as I find baseball stats and sims, if you reduce it to that, why should I bother with anything but the computerized version at all?

I think Rose can wait until after players like Dale Murphy, Jim Rice, Ryne Sandberg, Harold Baines, Dave Concepcion, Don Mattingly, Goose Gossage and Steve Garvey are in.

But I’ll bet you a dollar he won’t.

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17 Responses to Stats ain’t everything

  1. Busy Mom says:

    What a drag! I didn’t know he died…

  2. Scott says:

    Tug died? How sad. The man was a brilliant player.

    As to Rose . . . never let him in. Ever.

  3. Ejen says:

    Weeks ago I heard he was coming out with his book. Then I heard he had meeting with the comissioner. My first response, nothing has changed. He is now playing the huge gamble with the public, press, and potential buying readership that will either…and I do stress either will gain him entrance into the Hall of Fame OR gain monetarily with the sale of his new venture. Make no mistake I think he dearly wants into the Hall and/or to Manage again at the Big League level….it just strikes me as very much like a big conflict of interest that his book is coming out to which he will gain money from the proceeds AND he is making amends by admitting he lied all along…coming the same attrocity that banned The Chicago Black Sox from Baseball for life…oh yes we must assume the worst in the cases….and still look what he is doing….he is using this same addictive type behavior with the public, press, and Commissioners Office….what has he learned???

    Just my Opinion and Observation 🙂

  4. Ejen says:

    In the above post:


    sorry 🙂

  5. Linkmeister says:

    My thoughts re: Rose are here.

    Short version: Even when he supposedly recants all the lies, he does it the same week baseball announces results of HOF elections, thus diminishing some of the joy Paul Molitor and the Eck ought to be feeling. He’s a jerk.

  6. Ric The Schmuck says:

    He is a tremendous jerk. An unbelievably poor example of a human being. I, too, believe the worst in his case.
    He is one of the best hitters ever. He is one of the best examples of the term “baseball player” that ever existed. He didn’t have the greatest talent. But he had the most heart, at least where playing the game of baseball is concerned. He redefined the game. Yes, he did. Before Rose, no one ran to first base. (Not enough do now, but that’s another rant.) Hustle wasn’t encouraged, and appreciated, before Pete Rose.
    He achieved greatness through sheer determination, persistence, and yes, heart. (I take issue with the comment that he was a “dirty” player, too. Ray Fosse was too much, but other than that, he played hard, not dirty.)
    He is an example to be shown to children. How to play the game of baseball. Now NOT to behave as a human being. Both lessons can be taught, and folks can learn from him, though not in the manner which he supposes, himself. Put him in the Hall Of Fame, where he belongs. And DO NOT allow him to manage in the big leagues, ever again.
    And I’m sorry, old chum, but I have to argue one other point with you. “I think Rose can wait until after players like Dale Murphy, Jim Rice, Ryne Sandberg, Harold Baines, Dave Concepcion, Don Mattingly, Goose Gossage and Steve Garvey are in.” Those guys were all great ball-players, and fun to watch, and for the most part, great examples of being a man. (ahem, Steve Garvey, ahem, infidelity, ahem….. oh yeah, that wasn’t gambling, only cheating on his wife. That’s a vow of a different sort, huh? But he’s a better candidate to show our children than Pete?) But those guys are not in Pete Rose’s league, comparing them for selection into the Hall of Fame. Great players, all. (even the Yankees,snort) But none of them are Hall of Famers, excepting maybe, maybe Sandberg.
    Rose is a gimmie. Decry the man for his faults, of which there are many. But The Hall of Fame isn’t a Good Samaritan’s club, or any such. If you can have Ty Cobb, you can have Pete Rose. Babe Ruth wasn’t a very nice guy. Ted Williams. There are countless others. This issue is about the best baseball players, ever. Not whether they were good citizens or not.
    Sorry about that. But it steams me. I teach my boys about what’s right and wrong, given the material at hand. Putting Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame isn’t going to send any message to my kids that gambling is OK. In contrast, it is going to give me another opportunity to show my kids what can happen to a person, no matter how great at what they do, when they stop being a good person. There’s the lesson. Pete and Bud don’t get it, but me and my kids do.

  7. Solonor says:

    Sorry, gotta disagree.

    What kind of lesson is it, if it’s not that gambling’s ok? That as long as you’re really good at what you do, it’s ok to break the rules and lie about it?

    I was giving him the same break, as long as there was some doubt about whether he really bet on baseball. I stuck my fingers in my ears and went lalalalalala at all the arguments to the contrary, because his numbers are good.

    But my entire point was that even though the Hall of Fame is about stats, that doesn’t make it right. If it’s just about stats, he absolutely belongs in the Hall of Fame. And I might as well stick to pure stats baseball on the computer.

  8. Ric The Schmuck says:

    Given the way that today’s ballplayers behave, on and off the field, maybe we would all be better off that way. Except that you and I both know that the allure of baseball to the real baseball fan goes deeper than the fools that run the game, or the ones that play it. Way too many of them are extremely poor examples of proper behavior. From the players, to the owners, to the union that is supposed to protect the players, to the agents that are supposed to look out for the best interests of those who play the game. Collectively, they are among the worst examples of human behavior that any of the “famous public” individuals that we pay attention to, certainly sports-wise.
    I’m not excusing Pete Rose, or any other offender in any endeavor. I just don’t think that keeping him out of the Hall of Fame in any way protects us from him and his poor behavior, and actually exhibits poor behavior of our own. I like to think you and I are better than that, and that we don’t need Bud Selig to explain proper behavior to us when we’re talking about who the best to ever play the game is the issue.
    And again, is the gambling, and the lying about it, a worse offense than the wife beating that goes on? The cheating on spouses? The children born not only out of wedlock, but with no intention of being a part of any sort of family? The drugs?
    If you want to take the high road about “the integrity of the game”, where will you stand as the steroid issues escalate? Barry Bonds, anyone? Sammy Sosa, and his corked bat? Mark McGuire? If betting on baseball is considered the ultimate sin, due to the fact that it could influence how the game is played, how is that worse than performance altering chemicals, changing the balance of how the game is supposed to be played? By those who don’t “cheat”.
    I fear that we get too hung up on the “betting on baseball” issue when Pete Rose is discussed. Remember, inclusion in the Hall of Fame can be about his career as a player, or as a manager, or both. So does anyone that ever watched him play think that for one minute that he would throw a game in which he played, for any reason? Of course not. If you’d like to make that same argument about Pete Rose the manager, well we could certainly travel there, what with the betting and all. But we aren’t considering Pete Rose for the Hall of Fame for his managerial career, but instead for his playing career. Which rates among the best in the history of the great game that you and I both love, despite the people that run it.

  9. Ejen says:


    I understand your points, they are well made. There are indeed no angels and pure role models playing. In fact I doubt there ever were many. Are we really talking about that though. I am talking about the sanctity of the game. Mighty and lofty words. Are you willing to say it is ok for Rose to be admitted into the Hall of Fame after he has broken one of the most precious of tenants of the very game that serves to honor him. Social and moral traits are his own off the field so long as they do not impinge on the game of baseball.. remember no one says he could not gamble on horses or the lottery. We are not talking about a gambling addition to playing poker. In my mind he has admitted to violating one of the basis tentants and thus forfiets his right to inclusion in the Hall.. Now as a manager wasn’t it his duty to police against this activity? The clubhouses have always had numerous documentation warning against this according to the ESPN doccumentary I watched yesterday. It will be a mockery to allow him in. He was a great player and life is full of choices and he made the choice that ultimately cost him the right to membership I believe.

  10. Solonor says:

    On the steroids: Exactly! It’s not worse. If it can be proved that they used drugs and that it changed the balance of the game unfairly, then those records (and maybe those players) should be tossed out.

    The big difference, of course, is that every baseball clubhouse has a big old “Thou shalt not bet on the game” sign in it, whereas performance-enhancing drug use is still legal, because the idiots that run the game won’t move to ban them. So, McGwire, et al., can’t be banned for breaking rules that didn’t exist.

    Whether betting is worse than other offenses in the real world has no bearing on this. There’s no rule against marital infidelity or for being poor humans, and I doubt it would change the balance of the game. Rose shouldn’t be banned because he’s a jerk. He should be banned because he broke the clearly stated, reasonable rule against betting on baseball games. Lying about it and then trying to come clean for sympathy was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

    The one “you got me there” point is that, if you try really hard, you can separate the player Rose from the manager Rose. Whether the player should be excluded from a list of great players because the manager did something wrong, is something I waver on. So, when I jump down off my high horse, I could (grudgingly) accept him as a member of the Hall of Fame, but never, ever, in any other capacity like coach or manager.

  11. Ric The Schmuck says:

    OK, I’ll stop. It takes a lot out of a guy, trying to defend a scumbag like Pete Rose. And he is a scum bag. I just know that when I talk about great ball players with my son, he’ll be one that I talk about admiring when I was a boy.
    Far quicker than Steve Garvey, et al.
    And congrats to Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersly, who DID get voted in to the Hall of Fame, both well deserving.

  12. Ejen says:

    Re: betting as the ultimate sin

    I think the Major Leagues consider it the ultimate sin, its very high on there list considering offenses for drugs and equipment tampering do not garner immediate Bans from the Leagues.

  13. Ric The Schmuck says:

    OK, one more and I promise I’ll stop. I don’t advocate letting Pete Rose participate in Major League Baseball. I believe that he should not be allowed to work in Major League Baseball, as he certainly cannot be trusted. Let the ban stand.
    That, however should not prevent him from being included in The Hall of Fame, among the greatest players to ever play the game. Because he was.

  14. Ejen says:

    Life is full of choices my son….and consequences. 🙂

  15. Ejen says:

    Ok Gentlemen,
    So reports given to the Commissioners Office today and released to the AP say that Rose is not telling the whole truth according to his colleagues. Even when he fesses up and tells the truth, he does not tell the whole truth. What is the truth! Muddy waters these are….bad precedent all around…I am not liking this at all…

  16. Ric The Schmuck says:

    None of that surprises me, not at all. Pete Rose is a scumbag extraordinaire.
    But if I needed to get a man on base, and a lot depended on it, and I had my pick of anyone in baseball history……………. there wouldn’t be too many beyond him to choose from.
    I’m really gonna stop now. Really. 🙂

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