Pete Rose Does Not Deserve a Plaque in Cooperstown

By Illya Harrell
pete rose ruined mario soto
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Seems like every year or two former Cincinnati Reds‘ member Pete Rose comes sniffling and whining with a big fat pucker job directed toward Commissioner Bud Selig. This latest plea sounds like that of a desperate old man. Have some dignity, Pete.

In a CBS Sports Radio interview Rose said, “What I did is bad, but PEDs are bad too. I had nothing to do with altering the statistics of baseball.” And then he had the gall to lay the dying-man guilt trip, “They’ll probably wait ’til I’m gone like they did with Ron Santo.” How dare Pete compare himself to Santo who held an annual charity walk from 1979 until his death in 2010, raising money for juvenile diabetes? Pete signs autographs in Las Vegas for cash — probably a few to diabetic kids.

Pete Rose did much worse than alter statistics. As a direct result of his gambling he ruined Mario Soto’s career. From 1980 to 1984, Soto pitched like a future Hall of Famer. He led the National League WHIP, H/9, K/9 K/BB and 4-of-5 times placed in the top-10 on the final Cy Young Award tallies.

And then, on Aug. 17, 1984, Pete came back to Cincinnati as player-manager.

In Soto’s eight years prior to Pete’s arrival he’d pitched on three days rest exactly seven times. Upon Pete’s arrival it became routine when Soto’s arm wasn’t dangling from his shoulder about to drop on Riverfront Stadium’s astro turf — which may as well have happened. Soto averaged 13 starts over his final three seasons and was forced to retire in 1988 at 31 years old.

Proof, you ask? Easy, just look at the final game of the 1984 season. Pete starts Soto again on three days rest, a cool 23 games behind the first place Padres. Safe to say, last game of the season, Pete had laid a month’s salary on that meaningless Sunday afternoon game against Houston. Unless Soto was going for a 20-win season or some other milestone (he was not), a manager who did NOT have money on the game, a manager who was NOT named Pete Rose would have never started Soto.

Not only did he start him, but Pete rode Soto like a four-year-old with a never-ending flow of quarters on a mall machine. Soto’s final line was 9 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 8 K and a total of 39 batters faced. Again, that was the last day of the season, 23 games out of first. Why was he starting Soto?

Every year or so, baseball fans see this pale, saggy-skinned old man begging for forgiveness and a plaque, and they feel sorry for him. All he did was bet on some games, right? Don’t let a con man rook you. Look at the facts and judge for yourself.

Illya Harrell is a huge Cincinnati Reds fan and a writer for Follow him on Twitter @Illya_Harrell, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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