Writers might be best chance at Hall

Updated: January 15, 2004, 9:34 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
The baseball writers have reached their conclusions on Pete Rose's reinstatement bid, and it's not a pretty sight.

Pete Rose
Last week, after Rose admitted to betting on baseball as Cincinnati manager in 1987-88, Peter Gammons called Rose perhaps the lowest figure he's encountered in 32 years of covering the sport. Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News judged Rose guilty of the worst "atrocity" imaginable in baseball. And Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle and Ken Daley of the Dallas Morning News were among the prominent writers who said there's no way they can justify voting for Rose.

If that sounds like bad news for Rose and his legacy, consider this: His ball-playing peers -- his alternative route to Cooperstown -- have soured on him even more.

Rose must be reinstated from the ineligible list by commissioner Bud Selig before December 2005 to appear on the writers' Hall of Fame ballot. After that, 20 years will have passed since his final big-league game, and Rose will have to be judged by the Veterans Committee.

Baseball Insider interviewed four Hall of Famers and Veterans Committee members at an autograph show in Houston last weekend, and the anti-Rose sentiment was palpable. It ranged from disapproval (Whitey Ford) to dismay (Don Sutton) to outright contempt (Gaylord Perry). Juan Marichal was the only one of the four who expressed support for Rose.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer