Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Two Cents on Scrubbing Charlie Hustle

Much has been made this week surrounding a Yahoo Sports Blog regarding the fact that Topps has scrubbed Pete Rose off of their baseball cards.  To summarize: Topps recently issued the 2013 Topps Series cards.  On the back of each players cards there is a line in between their personal information and career stats which highlights a career chase statistic showing the distance the featured player is away from a great baseball milestone.


In particular, much as been made out of the cards that highlight the distance players are away from the all time hits record.  The A.J. Pierzynski card shows that he is 2,611 hits away from the record.  However, other cards featuring other records name the player that holds the record.


For example, Matt Holliday is 533 home runs away from Barry Bonds all-time home run record.  Throughout the set pitchers are compared to Cy Young's win total and Nolan Ryan's strikeout record.  Hitters are compared to Bonds, Tris Speaker, Rickey Henderson, and other all-time career holders.  It appears that Rose was deliberately snubbed by Topps.  However, the article does point out a card that Rose appears on:


The 2006 Topps Update set features a Shawn Green card with a Pete Rose cartoon in the upper left hand corner.  This card has lead many collectors to the conclusion that the decision to snub Pete Rose has been a recent decision.  However, I think that this card is more likely a product of lax quality control on the part of Topps.  Let's face it, quality control and attention to detail happens some of the time at Topps, but not all of the time.  My guess is that the cartoon on the back of the Shawn Green card simply slipped through the cracks.


Topps has not issued a single Pete Rose card since he was banned from baseball.  His last regular issue card was this 1989 Topps card.  Since this card, they have not produced one single card of the all-time hits leader.  Since Rose is banned from Major League Baseball and they issue a license to Topps to print and manufacture baseball cards, it's easy to see why the Reds great has been absent for the past 24 years.  Topps ability to keep and maintain their license would probably take a turn for the worst if the issued a Pete Rose card.  They are kind of walking on egg shells.  It also hasn't stopped other companies and Pete Rose from still cashing in on his name.


Leaf and Rose have been issuing a set of cards together for the past several years.  The cards are all about Pete and feature tons of autographs.  Frankly, the move has helped Leaf stay afloat without having a full licensing agreement, you can imagine it will never get one now, but cheapened the signature of Pete Rose.  This card can be found for around $25 or less on Ebay.  Way cheaper than standing in line to get Pete to sign something.  



Really, the whole Pete Rose thing is awkward and weird at this point.  After the Pete Rose gambling investigation ended he was banned from baseball and the former commissioner of baseball, Bart Giamatti died shortly afterwards of a heart attack.  Many blamed Rose.  Rose on the other hand has gone into walking a bipolar line between thumbing his nose at Major League Baseball and pleading with Bud Selig for reinstatement.  Really, at some point I think that Rose will be recognized by Major League baseball and be reinstated.  Even Elect to the Hall of Fame.  However, I also am not going to be surprised if Major League Baseball does not let Rose get to see himself in the Hall of Fame.  Until then most in baseball will pretend that Rose never played, while others will tip toe around the issue.  I can't really blame Topps for dodging the Pete Rose name on the back of their cards this year, but perhaps they could find a subtle way to give Charlie Hustle a shout out.  The Reds walk this line every year.  Do you see the nod to Charlie Hustle in this picture?  

7 comments:

  1. Are they going to reinstate the Black Sox while they're at it? It would be a travesty if a scumbag who broke rule #1 in baseball (and knew full well what the consequence would be) was reinstated.

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    1. What are the consequences of reinstating the Black Sox at this point? None. While there were clearly White Sox players who threw the series there guilt in all cases isn't totally clear. Rose isn't the smartest guy, nor moral, but he was a great player. Put him for what he did as a player and not for the stupid choices he made as a manager

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    2. The consequence is that you're undermining the competitive integrity of the game itself by pardoning gambling. I wouldn't have a problem with the HOF creating an exhibit on Rose, but he shouldn't have a plaque.

      And for the record, I think that the gambling is a much, much, much, much more serious offense than juicing.

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  2. I was disappointed in Rose's decision to bet on baseball and then his denial for many, many years. I teach a class on "character development", so things like "respect" and "responsibility" are very important to me. But so is "forgiveness". As I've gotten older, I think I've gotten softer and I pretty much have forgiven the guy as a fan. I hope he'll one day get reinstated and recognized for his "on the field" accomplishments.

    By the way, Topps produced a card of Pete Rose in 1991. The set was for an NBC movie of Babe Ruth, in which Rose was the actor for Ty Cobb.

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    1. I did not know about the 1991 Topps card. I am going to have to check it out. Completely agree with your thoughts on Rose. We don't have to like his actions off the field, but he was a great player and competitor on the field. Thanks for sharing Fuji.

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    2. It's fitting that Rose would have played Cobb. Two men of equal moral character.

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