On a Special Jersey

peteroseAs a lifelong Reds fan, I think about Pete Rose. There’s no question that Pete is his worst enemy, but this post is NOT about his poor choices. There’s no question that Pete had a great career and his stats warrant Copperstown (HOF), but this post is NOT about the HOF or even his return to the game.

For whatever reason, Major League Baseball (MLB) continues to punish Cincinnati Reds fans for Pete’s wrongdoings. I simply cannot understand why #14 isn’t retired and hanging on the ballpark façade with other great Reds from the past. Although no player will ever wear #14 again in Cincinnati, MLB’s stance is selfish, arrogant, and an intentional slap in the face to Cincinnati Reds fans and to the Cincinnati Reds organization.

Every time I go to a game or even drive by the ballpark, I think about this travesty. How would MLB be hurt if it lifted the Rose ban for a day or even a weekend to retire #14 and even induct him into the Reds HOF? The Cincinnati Reds fans deserve this because this has nothing – NOTHING to do with Cooperstown eligibility or reinstatement into the game. NOTHING!

Pete Rose grew up in Cincinnati, played hard for his town, and Cincinnatians love him. Even with his tarnish, Pete is still a legend. Yet MLB is led by a commissioner who always says the game is about the fans, but continues to act to the contrary by punishing Cincinnati Reds’ fans for Pete’s indiscretions. Mr. Selig, temporarily lift the ban so the Reds can honor him, so the fans can honor him, and so he doesn’t have to buy a ticket. Better yet, consider calling the Cincinnati Reds with your idea.

To the best of my knowledge the image is the property of Getty Images

20 thoughts on “On a Special Jersey

  1. The game is about politics for the commissioner. I use to watch Pete Rose and began to enjoy watching the game. In comparison to what Pete Rose, he just hit a foul ball to the over the fence antics from players today.

    Good post.


    • Tim,
      Politics for sure … thus I think it would be a great win for the commissioner to approach the Reds.

      Thanks, I appreciate your comment.


  2. I agree with Tim as well about this having to do with politics.

    I do agree with your point though. Not only was part of Cincinnati and their organization, he was the face of work ethic because I personally never seen anyone get the most out their talent than he did.

    Sure, it doesn’t make it right for the poor choices he made, but MLB making the whole city and team suffer for it isn’t right either.

    Just a question: Do you know if anyone has started a petition on-line for this?


    • David,
      The whole issue has always been quiet. Let’s face it, MLB would probably slap the Reds if they mentioned it in public.

      I’ve contacted some members in the local sports media so it will be interesting to see if I get any replies.

      A petition? I haven’t ever seen one, but that doesn’t necessary mean there hasn’t been.

      I imagine many outside of Cincinnati don’t realize the number isn’t retired. FYI: Pete Jr wore it during his short tenure on the club & and there are various subtle signs of 14 throughout the stadium – put its not retired.

      David, thanks for the good comments


      • I agree with you and understand the Reds position on this now that you said that.

        Good to know the local sports media was contacted. It would be great to get responses from them.

        Talk at you later good friend!


  3. I also agree it is about politics. Of course, Rose didn’t do himself any favors by lying, then later recanting his story.

    I guess I see the argument that if Rose isn’t in the baseball HOF why should he be eligible for the Reds HOF, but I don’t agree with it…Rose, to the Reds, was an institution and a galvanizing force of a ballplayer during the Reds glory years. Rose, to baseball, was a blemish, a guy who was a lousy person looking to make a quick buck no matter what, and in the process of doing so, violated one of the fundamental “no nos” of sports – betting. With that outlook, I fully support Rose in the Reds HOF, and I don’t really see how anyone can say otherwise. (The real baseball HOF vote, however, is a different story!)


    • Chris,
      As a Reds fan I knew you would have some thoughts here. His lies, personality, violations, and stuff aside, that’s not the point … it’s about MLB, through Commissioner Selig, purposely punishing the fans in this city – which obviously I don’t approve. No Copperstown I can deal with. No reinstatement to work in the game, I can accept … but not being able to honor him here, in this city, is a crime.

      thanks for dropping by … and hopefully we can get more Reds posts in … Go Reds!


  4. I don’t know that the Reds organization couldn’t choose to retire the number, but clearly it is a travesty. if the game is played on the field, and not in the MLB offices, then he needs to be recognized.


    • Mo,
      Apparently, whenever Pete is involved in any way shape or form, the Reds must seek advice and ultimate approval from MLB. If memory serves me correct, the Reds had to get MLB permission for a temporary Rose exhibit at the Reds HOF (done a several years ago).

      Popular sentiment seems to indicate retiring #14 has no chance as long as Commissioner Selig heads MLB. Sadly to say, given MLB’s history, the next commissioner following suit is highly probable.

      Mo … thanks for the comment!
      Thanks Mo for understanding why I’m not a happy camper when attending a Reds home game.


  5. Like Mo, I wasn’t aware that the Reds couldn’t make their own decisions in regards to how the club treats Pete Rose.

    In regards to Bud, I’m not a particular fan of his work. Regardless of attendance figures, expansion, internationalization of the game (all things that would have occurred naturally anyway), Bud’s actions have been contrary to growing the game in a positive manner, and have shown no respect for the past contributions of players prior to his tenure in office.

    In regards to Rose, I think we’ll see a judgment coming in the near future as we get to the point where Hall of Fame voters are caught in a loophole of who to vote for after the steroids era. Many of these stars of coming to the point where they qualify and the questions start to be asked. As such, baseball will need to decide if they look the other way for these players, and by doing so, will need to consider doing the same for Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose as well.

    Great post Frank!


    • Frag,
      I was hoping you had something to say on this one.

      Many of don’t agree with Bud, the $17 million a year man. You said a lot and we both know we can say more, but won’t.

      As a Reds fan, I can live without him in Copperstown …. but what MLB is doing to us in Cincinnati is simply not right … and I don’t think we the fans nor the club really have any recourse.

      Thanks for the visit!


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  7. I, too, am a fan of Pete Rose and like so many others see that politics helped bring him down…along with his own poor choices.

    Yet, what I don’t understand is how or WHY the sports world (boxing) would let a convicted rapist, Mike Tyson ever fight again. His is a disgrace.

    Frank…another wonderful thought provoking post.


    • Michelle,
      One thing for sure, the world of sports offers many double-edged swords and contradictions – both within a sport and between sports.

      Even as a Reds fan, there are many things about the Rose situation I know and understand … and yes, he has made his share of poor choices. But I just don’t get way me, other Reds fans, the Reds organization, and the city of Cincinnati continue to be punished.

      Some say it may change when baseball gets a new commissioner or after Pete passes on. I respond with “Neither seems to have done Joe Jackson any good.”

      Thanks for stopping by and the comment!


  8. I remember once that there was talk of putting a rose garden where 4192 landed. The Reds have not retired 14 but as long as there is a Stowe as an equipment manager of the Reds that number wont be issued.
    I think Rose is a chump outside of the lines, and I think that he would have been back in the MLB’s good graces had he come clean a lot earlier. But I agree with you that it would hurt no one to let the Reds formally retire his number and properly honor him.


    • KJ,
      Oh … I believe the Rose Garden with a spot for 4192 is in place!

      Meanwhile, I agree with you that Pete has outside-the-line issues … always has. Although I’m not convinced reinstatement would have occurred if he came clean earlier. Who knows.

      Thanks for stopping by & I hope you visit again.


  9. Hey Frank,

    Thanks for the link to this post. I honestly had no idea that Major League Baseball was preventing the Reds from bestowing this honor on Pete, I thought it was an organizational decision. This really is adding more insult and tarnish to what truly was one of the greatest careers in baseball history.


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