By Kirk McEwen

I just had an epiphany. Put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. Do it sooner than later, but do it. Do it while the hits leader is still alive. That’s all he’s ever wanted. That man loves baseball so much it hurts. Maybe the kids have forgotten but I haven’t. I still remember the way Pete would dive head first into 2nd and 3rd. Mostly 3rd. The man belongs in the Hall and I’m leading the charge! Follow along as I explain why Charlie Hustle deserves induction before he dies.

I don’t care what it says about gambling in every clubhouse and I don’t care that he lied. OK, having said that, let’s go back. In my heart of hearts I believe Pete Rose bet on his team to win each and every time he made a wager. It’s my opinion that the gambling clause MLB grips so tightly to is archaic and in need of review, as were so many laws in the history of this great nation. That gambling statute is there to ensure against the type of scandal the Black Sox were all about, which is also debatable, by the way. In any case, Charlie Hustle’s crime was not Shoeless Joe’s purported crime. Further, nobody gave Pete a single hit of those 4256 he amassed over his career. Numbers in baseball are sacred. Babe Ruth’s home run total was eclipsed by Hank Aaron, fair and square. Barry Bonds’ numbers, not so much. In fact, the PED culture, I’d argue, has done more to damage the game of baseball than Rose’s gambling and some of these cheats may actually make it into Cooperstown! Was Rose wrong to repeatedly lie about his involvement with the bookies that ultimately would bring him to his knees? Absolutely! Is it time for baseball to re-visit the case that has so ensnared the 72 year old hit king? It certainly is. It’s time to do the right thing. Pete’s been on the outside looking in for damn near a quarter century. It’s time to bring Rose back into the fold. This nation loves a comeback. Put Pete Rose where his numbers dictate he belongs. Along side the other immortals in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Follow Kirk on Twitter @KirkMcEwen