The baseball Hall of Fame should include the greatest players of all time. And while he does have some controversy surrounding his name, Pete Rose was so great at this game that it shouldn’t matter.
It’s too late to elect him truthfully into the HOF. He failed miserably trying to get into the HOF; that was based on one thing: his ban from baseball.
Rose was tied up in a betting scandal where he would bet on his own team to win when he was managing/playing games. Now, this isn’t something to be looked past when considering his career. However, he wasn’t betting against his own team or compromising the integrity. In fact some would say that he was managing harder due to the fact that he had money bet on the game; however, that is neither here nor there.
Without that scandal, Rose had a legendary career that included having the most hits, games played, at bats, and plate appearances. That came during a 24 year career where he missed very little time due to injury. He was a safe bet to get a hit, possessing a .303 batting average over his career.
Defense was a mixed bag for him; he had some good years and some bad years. However his premier leadoff ability allowed him to slack on SLG, and therefore OPS. Despite this, his career rWAR was 79.7, good enough for at least a second ballot induction. He was such an iron man player that he managed to play all 162 games in the 1982 season, despite being 41 years old.
As for his advanced hall of fame stats, he excelled in black ink, gray ink, HOFM, JAWS, and has similarity scores with Paul Molitor (Hall of Fame), Tris Speaker (HOF), Ty Cobb (HOF), Robin Yount (HOF), Paul Waner (HOF), George Brett (HOF), Cap Anson (HOF), Derek Jeter (HOF), Lou Brock (HOF), and Johnny Damon. That’s right: 9/10 similar players according to the Baseball-Reference similarity score are in the hall of fame.
What does this tell you about Rose? He was an amazing contact hitter (some would even go as far as the best of his generation), he could field when he was young, and he could definitely get into the Hall of Fame. Combining all of these, it’s clear that Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame.