Since Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life in 1989, the debate Has raged over whether or not he should be reinstated and eventually Inducted into the Hall of Fame. It's an incendiary topic - one that rouses Passion on both sides of the argument. The debate was recently given new life with the release of Rose's 2004 autobiography, "My Prison Without Bars," in which after 15 years of denial, Rose finally admitted to betting on baseball.
Now that he has finally come clean, should Pete be allowed back into the game of baseball? There is no easy answer. The following is a collection of opinions from around the baseball world, including some of Pete's friends, his foes, baseball officials and Pete himself.
"I think Pete has paid his dues. Then I think he should be on the ballot. I really do." -Joe Morgan (CNN.com, August 6, 1997)
"Ever watch a Yankees game? Every time they throw a pitch, you see, 'Mohegan Sun,' which is the third-largest casino in the world. What does that tell you? 'We'll take your money. We just don't want to have anything to do with you.'" -Pete on baseball's double-standard (ESPN.com, August 7, 2001)
"I really don't believe Pete Rose did this to hurt the game of baseball, I think the addiction took over and he just ran with it thinking he was above the game." -Pete's longtime friend and confidante Tommy Gioiosa (ESPN.com, August 8, 2001)
"So, yes, Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. It's a museum. It has a front door, not pearly gates. Nobody got more base hits than Peter Edward. Probably, no one ever will. Put him in the Hall. Give him a super-sized plaque, big enough for a detailed explanation as to why he told one story for 14 years and another in January 2004. Keep him away from any job that even remotely sniffs the ballpark grass. And be done with him." -Paul Daugherty, Columnist (Cincinnati Enquirer, January 6, 2004)
"I am optimistic that Pete Rose will be reinstated this year and will be on the Hall of Fame ballot next year … Pete has paid his dues." -Mike Schmidt (New York Times, April 18, 2003)
"During the times I gambled as a manager, I never took an unfair advantage." -Rose from his autobiography, "My Prison Without Bars"
"I know what you're thinking. If we let you back into baseball, Pete, what's to stop you from gambling again? Listen, there hasn't been a day in my life when I didn't regret making those bets." -Rose from his autobiography, "My Prison Without Bars"
"So let's leave it like this: I'm sorry it happened and I'm sorry for all the people, fans and family that it hurt. Let's move on." -Rose from his autobiography, "My Prison Without Bars"
"He should definitely, honey, definitely, be in the Hall of Fame, whosever business that is, because he is baseball." -Marge Schott (Washington Post, January 6, 2004)
"We all make mistakes. It's not my business to judge right or wrong or who did what. But I do know he respected the game … I would hope someday he gets in the Hall of Fame. Maybe my reasons aren't correct. Maybe they are. I don't know. But I'm not sure I really care. He's a friend of mine, and sometimes that's good enough." - Boston manager Terry Francona, who played with Rose in 1987 (Washington Post, January 6, 2004)
"The banishment for life of Pete Rose from baseball is a sad end if a sorry episode. One of the game's greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts. There is absolutely no deal for reinstatement." -Former commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, at the August 24, 1989 press conference banning Pete Rose from baseball
"The evidence against Pete Rose is overwhelming." -John Dowd, author of the Dowd Report, the investigation that led to Rose's banishment from baseball (Seattle Times, January 11, 1998)
"The Hall of Fame needs me more than I need the Hall of Fame." -Rose to the Cooperstown Crier, 1997
"If Pete Rose bet on the games, then I don't think he should be a part of the Hall of Fame. I don't think anyone really knows. My only opinion is: If I did not bet on the game, I would never sign a letter that banned me from the game. Pete signed a letter that banned him from the game." -Brooks Robinson (CNN.com, August 6, 1997)
"He played hard and played every day like it was the seventh game of the World Series. But there are times, when you do something wrong, you have to say you are sorry. I have tried to talk to Pete-he's a very close friend of mine-and I just wish I could get to him to apologize. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that." -Joe Morgan, former Reds teammate and friend (CNN.com, August 6, 1997)
"Nothing has changed in 13 years. He hasn't seemed to change his life or done anything different. He's still the same guy he was." -Hall of Famer Jim Palmer on the possibility of Rose's reinstatement (Washington Times, December 2002)
"That would be a big tragedy. A lot of Hall of Famers won't go back if that occurs." -Former commissioner Fay Vincent, on Rose being admitted to the Hall of Fame (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 8, 2004)
"I'm not surprised that he admitted it; I'm surprised he handled it so badly. I thought somebody would have given him advice to be more contrite. He doesn't understand. He's in denial. -Former commissioner Fay Vincent (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 8, 2004)
"Now that they know that he bet, he was lying for 14 years. The rule's the rule." - Tommy Lasorda, former Los Angeles Dodgers manager and Hall of Famer (Washington Post, January 6, 2004)