Mark Gonzales: Is it time to let Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame?
A few DraftKings signs were plastered on the southeast corner of Wrigley Field last week in anticipation of the sportsbook to be constructed within a relay throw from the visitors clubhouse.
And with Monday's release of the Hall of Fame ballot and subsequent elections lurking as means of honorable news with the sport destined for a lockout, the thought of Pete Rose pressing his face against a ballpark betting parlor window crossed my mind.
Rose, 80, remains banned from baseball and is ineligible for the Hall of Fame because of his suspension for betting on games as a player and as a manager more than 30 years ago despite his distinction as the "Hit King" with 4,256 career hits.
A sign is posted near the entrance of every major league clubhouse listing the rules of baseball, which include the forbidding of wagering on games. Rose deserved to be punished and has been banned since 1989 following an investigation -- with no lifting of the ban in sight.
But in its quest to increase revenues, Major League Baseball has moved as fearlessly as an 18-wheeler driving down a steep grade without brakes in striking deals with multiple betting agencies.
More power to the teams if they seek new avenues to raise revenues, especially after their claims of lost income during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
The Cubs are all in, although the DraftKings signs were taken down shortly before the Northwestern-Purdue football game. Nevertheless, expect them to reappear shortly.
And the betting parlors provide more fuel for fans who want to put their money where their hearts are. The smart fans will insist the teams reinvest the income from these betting agreements into their player payrolls.
You can be assured the Major League Baseball Players Association, as well as some certified agents, are keeping track of the revenue collected by teams and could reinvest.
Heck, many laid-off media members have found new careers writing on various baseball odds for these companies.
But what's good for teams isn't good for an ex-player like Rose, who has been suspended for 32 years? Paul Hornung and Alex Karras are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after serving one-year suspensions for their links to gambling.
The 2022 Hall of Fame ballot highlights first-timers Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. They join Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens -- who are each in their 10th and final at-bat on the traditional ballot.
Bonds and Clemens each have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs but haven't been found guilty of knowingly ingesting those chemicals.
Rodriguez, and Ortiz, to a lesser extent, will have the same dark skies hovering over them. In 2016, Commissioner Rob Manfred questioned the legitimacy of a New York Times report that stated Ortiz was one of 100 players who failed an anonymous drug test.
Former White Sox players A.J. Pierzynski, Jake Peavy and Justin Morneau, and ex-Cub Joe Nathan also are on the ballot.
For those who don't receive 75 percent of the writers' vote in 10 consecutive seasons, there are committees set up by the National Baseball Hall of Fame that provide a potential avenue to Cooperstown, N.Y.
But Rose remains ineligible, as his lifetime suspension started before he was eligible to be on the writers' ballot in 1992.
That currently eliminates him from the Golden Days Era Committee Ballot, currently reserved for players who made their biggest contributions from 1950 to 1969.
The White Sox have reinforced their support for Minnie Minoso, the first Black Latino in the majors. Dick Allen revived a faltering White Sox franchise in 1972 and is the subject of "Chili Dog MVP," a book co-authored by John Owens and Dr. David Fletcher and scheduled for release this spring. Minoso and Allen are on the Golden Days Era ballot, and the results of the 16-person committee's vote (comprised of Hall of Fame players, veteran media writers and executives) will be announced Dec. 5.
Rose earned NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1963, but his 2,929 hits from 1970 until his retirement after the 1986 season would make him an automatic selection on the Modern Era ballot (1970-87) in the future.
If only he was eligible.
Former White Sox manager and part-time philosopher Ozzie Guillen once said there's nothing worse than a hypocrite.
Considering the conflict of interest MLB created, perhaps it's not too late to look in the mirror.