It probably won't be a shock to anyone if Rickey Henderson "steals" his way into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday when the votes are tallied for the 2009 induction.
What I think would be a lovely shock would be to see Pete Rose getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The career all-time hits leader produced consistently year in and year out with a combination of average and roughly 200 hits or more. To put this into some sort of perspective Pete Rose is one of only 27 players to ever achieve 3000 or more hits. In comparison top candidate for the 2009 induction Rickey Henderson just barely made that mark himself after 25 seasons (3055 career hits).
Rose didn't just accept hitting a whopping 3000 hits. He decided hitting over 4000 hits was the way to go, and further to become the all time hits leader of major league baseball with 4256 (over 24 seasons). A record I doubt we will see fall this day in age unless Ichiro Suzuki plays until he's about 47 years old. Pete's record is so commanding that only one other player ever achieved over 4000 hits, and he is conveniently in the Hall of Fame (4191 hits in 25 seasons). Yes the other individual (Ty Cobb) does have a much more commanding career average .367 versus .303, but much higher averages were common in those days as was lack of power until the Babe.
Other Pete Rose achievements:
All Star 17 times at an unmatched 5 different positions; 1b, 2b, 3b, LF, and RF
All time leader in games played: 3,562
All time leader in at bats: 14,052
All time leader in outs: 10,328
3 World Series rings
3 Batting championships
2 Gold Gloves
1 Most Valuable Player award
Rookie of the Year in 1963
Quite the resume for a sport that statistics and achievements mean everything.
If I remember correctly in the U.S. someone is innocent until proven guilty. Rose has been banned from the HoF for allegedly gambling on baseball. More so it was allegedly gambling on games that he was not involved in.
Unfortunately in a feeble attempt to finally get given a chance to get into the Hall after many years of trying Rose decided to "admit" to gambling on baseball games, but never one he was involved in. I would note there has never been any evidence he ever wagered against the Reds. Obviously a dumb tactical move none the less to make this admission. None the less he was rejected into the HoF way before this admission purely based on speculation.
I say who cares... If you can't prove it you can't make him do the time. It's time to give Rose a fair shake at the HoF and finally bring the MLB into the new century. Isn't gambling legal anyways? I agree it's not ethical to wager on a game you can impact the outcome and he didn't. But isn't gambling legal anyways?
Since were talking about this issue it would also be nice while there at it for the league to become even more progressive, and give good old Shoeless Joe Jackson his due as well...
Michael Jordon is in the Hall of Fame for Basketball. Are you telling me Michael Jordan who admittedtly is a gambling addict never made a wager on a basketball outcome? Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, but you can punish him for someone speculating...