DHS coaches give views on Pete Rose’s confession

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2004

In a last chance plea to accomplish his last and obviously most important career goal of being elected into the baseball Hall of Fame, All -time hits leader, Pete Rose will announce tonight to a national audience that he did bet on baseball after 14 years of denial. But while Rose may think he is doing the right thing by admitting to gambling on baseball, there are many who would disagree and say that this is obviously a ploy to increase book sales of his new Autobiography, "My Prison Without Bars." And try and sway Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig to reinstate him after former commissioner A. Bart Giamatti banned Rose from baseball in 1989.

Demopolis High School baseball assistant coach Danny Wasson, who is originally form Dayton, Ohio, will tell you very quickly that Rose picked the wrong time to plea for forgiveness. "He is one of the best in my lifetime, but I hate the timing of it all. It’s easy to see that he is only doing this for two possible reasons. To sell books and to get reinstated so he will be on the official ballot instead of having to take his chances with the veterans committee," Wasson said.

If there were anyone in the Demopolis area that would know about Rose, then it would be Wasson. He has seen him take "The Big Red Machine" to a World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox in 1975 and was there at the 1970 All-Star Game when Rose infamously plowed Indians catcher Ray Fosse at home plate in the bottom of the 12th inning to win the game for the National League.

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Wasson has even had the pleasure of meeting "Charlie Hustle" in person.

"Many years ago I played in this fast pitch softball league in Ohio and one day I see this player sliding head first into second base and I was like is that? No, it can’t be. But it was him. He was during a mid-season strike and Rose was never the type to not stay active in some form of baseball," Wasson said.

But Wasson feels that although America is a very forgetful country, we here in the USA never forget. And unfortunately for Rose, Wasson doesn’t see were this stunt will win him any points with baseball.

"I don’t think that there are a whole lot of people on the fence on the issue. It’s either yes or no, or they don’t care. I don’t think he is going to get anybody to feel sorry for him," Wasson said.

The baseball Hall of Fame is considered one of the hardest to get into. Voters are encouraged to take into consideration a player’s integrity, sportsmanship, character as well as stats. "If they let Rose into the Hall of Fame then Shoeless Joe Jackson gets in too and while we’re at it let’s invite Darrel Strawberry," Wasson said.

Another coach that knows a few things about baseball is DHS head baseball coach James Moody, who has been around the block a couple of times himself. But unlike Wasson, Moody believes that Rose deserves a shot at the Hall Of Fame, depending on what we are really voting on.

"Professional ball players have to be so careful when they’re in that spotlight. They actually have to work to avoid trouble because it’s going to find them. So is Pete Rose one of the best players to ever put on a baseball uniform? There is no doubt that he is. But that’s the question. Is the Hall of Fame all about what you did when you played the game, or is about your character and leadership abilities and things like that? If those things come into play then no, Rose has no place in the Hall. But do I feel that Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Yes I do, if we are only looking at what he did as a player," Moody said.

There is no doubt that Rose has done more than enough on the field to be considered Hall of Fame quality. He is the only player in the Major League history to play more than 500 games at five different positions. He holds the All-time Major League record for most hits at 4,256, the most games played at 3,562, the most singles at 3,315 and most total bases by a switch hitter at 5,752. But if only it was that easy to get into Cooperstown.