Hall argument, Part II: Rose goes in

Pete Rose is baseball's all-time hits leader. Equally important: He never cheated the game.

Pete Rose is baseball's all-time hits leader. Equally important: He never cheated the game.

As Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and every other lyin’ cheat in the baseball record books seem to be moving further away from Cooperstown, Pete Rose could be moving closer.

I didn’t plan on blogging about this today. But if emails and comments are any indication, several readers seem confused, if not angered, by my positions on Rose (whom I believe should be in the Hall) and proven steroid uses (who should not be). Some think they are in conflict with each other. I don’t. So I felt the need to clear the air.

Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame?

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Also the New York Daily News is now reporting that commissioner Bud Selig might be softening his position on Rose and could make him Hall-eligible again. According to long-time baseball writer Bill Madden, one reason for Selig’s change in thought were comments made by our own Henry Aaron.

COOPERSTOWN — Thanks to the behind-the-scenes lobbying from some of the most influential Hall of Famers, commissioner Bud Selig is said to be seriously considering lifting Pete Rose’s lifetime suspension from baseball.

The tip-off that Selig may now be inclined to pardon baseball’s all-time hit king was Hank Aaron’s seemingly impromptu interview session with a small group of reporters in the lobby of the Otesaga Hotel on Saturday. In declaring for the first time that he would want an asterisk put on the achievements of any steroid cheats elected to the Hall of Fame, Aaron brought up Rose, who, in August of 1989, was given a lifetime ban for gambling on baseball, saying: “I would like to see Pete in. He belongs there.”

It is no secret that Selig considers Aaron one of his closest friends and values his opinions over perhaps all others.

Here’s my thought on Rose: He never cheated the game. Gambling did not enhance his ability to hit a baseball. He did not accumulate 4,256 hits because he obsessed over whether the Packers would cover.

Now, gambling on baseball is verboten for players. Rose broke that rule. So a suspension was understandable. But a “lifetime” ban from the sport and the resulting loss of eligibility for the Hall of Fame never was justified. Baseball commissioned John Dowd to look into the gambling allegations. Dowd interviewed bookies and assorted lowlifes. He determined that Rose bet on baseball, including 52 Cincinnati Reds games. However, at no point, Dowd concluded, did Rose bet against Cincinnati.

And if you really want to read the whole Dowd Report, here you go.

So what’s the argument against Rose? That he bet on his own team to win a baseball game? I’m not condoning his gambling, but come on. Baseball’s all-time hits leader is not worthy of induction because he really, really wanted his team to win even more so than usual because he bet $2,000 on the game?

I’ve got another poll to the left, and I’m casting the first vote. Rose goes in. Go ahead and weigh in.

105 comments Add your comment

johnny evans

July 27th, 2009
11:04 am

I =100% AGREE, PETE ROSE DESERVES TO BE IN THE HALL OF FAME,

JOHNNY L. EVANS

Barry Hardy

July 27th, 2009
11:10 am

Has everyone forgotten that Mickey Mantel and Willie Mays were accused of the same thing! They were reinstated so why not Rose?

Ken Stallings

July 27th, 2009
11:24 am

No Jeff, Pete Rose cannot go in!

He, like every other player since the Black Sox scandal, recieved numerous briefings from baseball officials that betting of any form on the sport of baseball would result in a lifetime ban from the sport.

Despite knowing this, Rose bet on baseball.

He also broke the heart of Bart Giamatti, and it’s not beyond rational thought to presume that heartbreak contributed some to his early death.

Rose broke Giamatti’s heart not merely by betting on baseball, but also by standing in the commissioner’s office and telling bald-faced lies to the man!

That is why Rose must remain out of the hall of fame. It is also why his own former teammates such as Joe Morgan and Johnny Bench painfully say he should remain out.

Drew

July 27th, 2009
11:24 am

Agreed. Rose goes in. The man’s stats and performance easily show that he is one of the elite players in history.

P

July 27th, 2009
11:30 am

My lost love for baseball would definitely take a step in the right direction if Rose were voted in. Next to Hank Aaron and maybe Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente he WAS baseball in the 70’s-80’s. It’s time!

MightyQuinn

July 27th, 2009
11:31 am

If I’m not mistaken, Mantle and Mays were associated with gamblers AFTER their playing days. Rose gambled while still active as a player and a manager and bet on his own teams. While he says he never bet on his team to lose, it still can affect the team by, say, overusing a pitcher in order to win one game, while possibly damaging your chances later in the season by burning up a pitcher. And while I have never been in a major league locker room, I believe there have been signs in them since the Black Sox saga 90 years ago stating that gambling carries with it a lifetime ban. Rose had to have seen that sign for his entire career, yet chose to succumb to his weakness. Therefore, no HOF for Rose.

Art Vandelay

July 27th, 2009
11:35 am

Ken, did you really just pin some of the blame for Giamatti’s death on Pete Rose? That’s a stretch if I’ve ever seen one. Rose was wrong for betting on baseball, and wrong for lying about it, but that doesn’t change the fact that, as a player, he did everything the right way. He has more than paid the price for his stupidity and deserves to be in the HOF.

Mike

July 27th, 2009
11:40 am

If Rose is allowed in, then Shoeless Joe Jackson should be allowed in. Jackson was illiterate and was taken advantage of by teammates he trusted, guys who played up the team’s mutual loathing of tightwad ChiSox owner Charles Comiskey. He did take the money and he knew it was wrong but he also gave it his all in the World Series. Jackson suffered worse than Rose in that he was banned at the height of his career. His situation was different but just as Rose supposedly never threw a game, neither did Jackson. Also, rumors were that Cobb and Speaker occassionally threw a game for gamblers but evidently this was not investigated or if so, could not be proven. Both men are in the Hall.

One other comment – when Gary Sheffield first came up with the Brewers, he supposedly was irked that even though he was a hot shot prospect, Yount and Molitor received all the press. The story goes that he admitted to deliberately throwing balls away at times (he was a third baseman at the time). He told this several years ago. If true, this is an outrage and he should suffer some sort of punishment. I hated when he played for the Braves and I’m glad he’s long gone.

Ken Hudak

July 27th, 2009
11:44 am

I think Rose should go in …..

BUT…….

Unless Rose bet on every game the Reds played, that is cheating when he didn’t. Which hitters on other team had solved his starting pitcher for that game that he didn’t bet? What was his starters ERA, which one of his star players was slumping that series he skipped? When he bet and when he did not bet on his team is the bigger question than if he bet on them winning or not. Not casting a vote for your team is when he thought his team was going to lose.

The other argument I have is for Ken Stallings…..Blaming Rose for Giamatti’s death is quite a leap there. Come on man, that is just a silly and inflammitary remark. One star player betting on baseball has never been proven to clog artieries or cause heart disease in a totally different human being. Be logical.

Billy

July 27th, 2009
11:45 am

Agreed. And let’s get Shoeless Joe in while we’re at it.

Hayden Zeke

July 27th, 2009
11:47 am

Judging by Giamatti’s nicotine stained fingers and yellow pallor, I don’t think it was Rose who broke his heart, I think it was a Lucky Strike.
Rose goes in. I watched him go 0-5 in Atlanta and even when he struck out he sprinted to first in case the catcher dropped the ball. He deserves his plaque.

Archie

July 27th, 2009
11:48 am

I still agree with your original take Jeff, let the voters decide. With Mark McGwire, the voters emphatically said no, he’s not Hall worthy. I think when Barry Bonds’ name comes up on the ballot, people will realize his numbers were probably good enough before he ever even started using steroids. If less than 75% of the voters think he’s Hall worthy, then at least the people will have spoken. That’s really the purpose of the Hall isn’t it, to recognize the players that are universally agreed upon to be the legends of the game.

I say put them on the ballot, put Rose on the ballot, put the Black Sox players on there even. Let the people look at the whole of their careers and see if they measure up. If they don’t they don’t, if they do they do. If they do get in, go ahead and put it on their plaque that they were cheaters because regardless it’s still part of their legacy.

Brendan

July 27th, 2009
11:49 am

Pete Rose should definitely go into the Hall of Fame. For all the reasons Jeff Schultz just listed. Me, personally, I don’t think off the field conduct should determine eligibility in the Hall of Fame. What if a player likes to commit adultery, or father illegitimate children, for example. What does that have to do with how well the player performed on the field? It’d be one thing to “throw game” to win bets. That ISSSS affecting play on the field. That’s inexcuseable. But if some player had an excessive amount of DUI’s, unpaid parking tickets, or a half dozen illegitimate kids, fathered from Massachussetts to California, I don’t care.

My HOF criteria is based on longevity in the game, at a sustained high level of play. Rose had that in SPADES. The guy was a tremendous hitter. But he wasn’t just one dimensional. The Hall of Fame would be incomplete without him. I repeat, the Hall of Fame would be incomplete without him. The guy paid his debt to society. Now, let’s just “let-it-go.” Induct him.

CincyJacket

July 27th, 2009
11:54 am

It was never part of the original deal that Pete be declared inelligable for the Hall, just that he was kicked out of baseball. It wasn’t till Pete was about to become elligable that they changed the rules to get into the Hall, in order to keep him out.

Put him in the Hall for what he did as a player, not as a manager.

MatthewH

July 27th, 2009
11:54 am

I agree with Mike and Billy-get Shoeless Joe in there (someone who was acquitted) and then we’ll talk about Pete Rose

Vincent

July 27th, 2009
11:55 am

I really wouldn’t have a problem with Rose being eligible to be voted on for the HOF. However, if that happens, Rose still doesn’t deserve to EVER be allowed back into day to day baseball again. If Selig allows Rose to coach or manage again, he’ll be making a huge mistake.

The Doktor

July 27th, 2009
11:57 am

This guy was THE Ultimate baseball player of his day – ALWAYS giving 150% and NEVER quitting! Didn’t hurt that he could flat-out rake from either side of the plate, either. He’s a ’saint’ compared to some of these latter day punks & thugs. Vote him in where he belongs…

Jeff

July 27th, 2009
11:58 am

his accomplishments as a player have been tarnished by acts committed after his playing day were over. come on now Bud, you should be banned from baseball for not putting a stop to the steroids, I said there was a problem when Brady Anderson hit 50 Home runs, instead you guys cooked up ficticious stories about juiced baseballs, you were right about part of it anyways, but it was not the baseballs that were Juiced, Whose with me lets ban Bud from baseball, because his marketing plan of Homeruns = seats sold has tarnished this game much worse than Pete Rose ever could.

sad brotha

July 27th, 2009
12:01 pm

The loosening of standards is rampant in this country. The #1 baseball rule: BET ON BASEBALL AND BE BANNED FOR LIFE. Rose lied and then accepted the commisioner’s deal. Now let’s change the rules because of his stats? NO WAY! The message is loud and clear and has been that way for almost a century…. Baseball doesn’t tolerate gambling in its game. Give Rose a break? Give me a break. He was, and is an idiot, who was a good baseball player.

Dr. Watson

July 27th, 2009
12:02 pm

Who is Mickey Mantel?

MightyQuinn

July 27th, 2009
12:03 pm

Brendan, it wasn’t “off the field conduct” it was ON the field and AFFECTED the field of play. And again, for all you in favor of letting him in, he knowingly, willingly committed a rules violation that he knew carried a lifetime ban, due to the history of the game. I used to be a huge fan of Rose, of the way he hustled, until I grew up and realized it was largely just a way of showboating, i.e., running flat out to first after a walk. His comments after the game the Braves and Gene Garber stopped his hitting streak, “He was pitching me like it was the 7th game of the World Series” pointed out his character to me, and I was never a fan afterwards. But thats not why he shouldn’t go into the Hall. Gambling on baseball=lifetime ban. No if, ands or buts.

GT

July 27th, 2009
12:05 pm

You cannot let Rose in without letting Shoeless Joe Jackson in. Fair is fair. Personally, I don’t think Rose should go in. He bet on baseball, despite decades of warnings and policies. Period. End of discussion.

Ken Stallings

July 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

Inflammatory or not as you may take it, there are people who were close to Bart Giamatti who insist that Rose’s conduct did break the man’s heart and sent him into great depression. I said may have contributed because I acknowledge the man’s heavy smoking. However, he died of a heart attack, not cancer.

Further, he suffered that heart attack merely eight days after handing down the decision to ban Rose. None other than Bart Giamatti’s very close friend, Fay Vincent, is quoted as saying he believed the gross anquish that Giamatti experienced leading up to the painful decision to ban Pete Rose helped aggrevate Giamatti’s heart condition.

tom thumb

July 27th, 2009
12:17 pm

Jake

July 27th, 2009
12:19 pm

Not only is Diogenes still searching, but he is crying.

Greg Norton

July 27th, 2009
12:20 pm

I think I should go into the pinch hitters wing of the Hall.

Paddy

July 27th, 2009
12:21 pm

No jeff he can’t go in.. He broke the only rule in sports that is important. Integrity and sustaining public trust. It is the ONLY thing that keeps all sports viable.

phoenix falcon

July 27th, 2009
12:21 pm

huh, what? ” he did not cheat the game?” what?
HE BET ON A TEAM HE WAS ON, NOT ONLY WAS HE ON THE TEAM, HE MANAGED THE TEAM. he’s an addict, and addict’s will do what ever they have to do to get their fix, if that means betting on or against a team he is on, makes no difference to them. He damaged the sport. if you let one cheater in, then you should let them all in. he’s a liar and a cheat, he SHOULD BE BANNED FOR LIFE.

Carter is a Fool

July 27th, 2009
12:30 pm

Cheats are cheats. No way. Bloated Built Up Barry Bondo should never be enshrined either. Lift the ban after Rose is dead. Enshrine him then, but not before. I think he should be in, but not in his lifetime.

Barry and Company should never be enshrined. Aaron hit his homeruns the honest way not through chemical enhancement. Never enshrine cheats.

All I'm Saying Is...

July 27th, 2009
12:32 pm

Schultz, your position is unsupportable and hypocritical and just because 20 years has passed does not justify allowing Rose into the HOF but not alleged and actual steroid users.

Pete Rose knowingly and willingly committed a (sacred) rules violation that he knew carried a lifetime ban, due to the history of the game. And Pete Rose repeatedly lied about it for years and years and years.

I don’t condone it but due to petty jealousy or to remain competitive since others were clearly juiced (McGwire and Sosa) and getting away with it, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez appear to or have admitted to engaging in steroid use. But you know what? It may have been illegal to possess steroids without a prescription but it was not against the rules of baseball at the time.

If you simply don’t like BB or Roger or A-Rod (and many don’t) and do not want either in the HOF, then be man enough to say it. Clemens, BB, and A-Rod would not be the first (and won’t be the last) players to not get in the HOF or to have to wait for years because sportswriters didn’t like them.

By any performance measure, A-Rod, BB, and Clemens are HOF worthy. And all of this talk about character is horse manure — otherwise a bunch of folks would have to get kicked out of HOF.

In other words, Rose, BB, Clemens, A-Rod, etc. should all be HOF eligible and have the opportunity to be voted on but you cannot suggest Rose should but the others should not. That’s baloney.

JaxDawg

July 27th, 2009
12:32 pm

Pete should be in, and has paid his debt for the gambling. If one known roid user gets in then Pete belongs there. Both gambling and steriods bring into question the integrity of the game.

What Pete did was serious, and as a previous poster mentioned the only way you could even come close to excusing it on any level is if he bet the Reds to win in every single game he played/managed. Even if he doesn’t bet on them, a non-bet is like betting the opposition will win. There’s a reason he bet on the Reds in some match ups and not others.

Herschel Talker

July 27th, 2009
12:35 pm

Schultzie – referring to my comment on the other blog, I think you underestimate the impact of “the benjamins” on people’s competitiveness, even Rose. That’s not to say he purposely threw a game, but if he tweaked his pitching staff or lineup in any way in order to set up things better for a future game, then the integrity of the game has been compromised. It would seem to me that the logical assumption is that at some point, something like that happened. To assume that not one decision was made with that in mind strikes me as major naivete.

Have an easy Tisha B’Av fast.

All I'm Saying Is...

July 27th, 2009
12:36 pm

Jeff

July 27th, 2009
11:58 am

Hey, buddy, good comment. Brady Anderson was definitely a warning signal and he only did what he did for one season (and guess what: it was a contract year meaning his contract was set to expire and he got a big money deal from Baltimore as a result and then faded away). Brett Boone was another one who was obviously juiced when he had that tremendous offensive season with Seattle.

Angus

July 27th, 2009
12:38 pm

No, no, and no to Pete.

How much more explicit can MLB be about gambling? No idiot that has to nerve to bet on the game, regardless of all else, deserves the HOF.

Now, let’s see MLB take a real stand against steroids. I’m not sure exactly which drugs should count, but why not a lifetime ban for a positive test for anabolic steroids or HGH?

PJ

July 27th, 2009
12:43 pm

I agree with your sentiment Jeff, but not your reasoning. I think Pete should be allowed in based on his playing record only. His gambling while a manager should have no bearing on his eligibility as a player. The fact that he bet on his team only to win does matter though. If you’re trying to win a game at all cost, you’re bound to use your bullpen differently than you would otherwise in certain situations. You might use your better relievers more often than warranted leading to greater fatigue/injury risk. You might also leave your regulars in a game longer in a blowout, especially if you’re losing and trying to catch up.

GTDhoo

July 27th, 2009
12:44 pm

I voted yes to this but then saw a reader comment that said Rose new that betting on baseball carried a lifetime ban and then he did it anyway. If that’s true, then he knew the risk and did it anyway and deserves to be left out. If it’s not, then I say put him in. Jeff, can you let us know what’s true?

mowreck

July 27th, 2009
12:48 pm

Well, Mickey and Willie just didn’t get caught gambling. Pete got caught and not only caught but LIED about it. Remember this was a different era. Steroids were not even thought of then and gambling was one of the worst things in terms of coaching or playing you could do, especially, if it involved baseball. Wonder what all the young kids thought about their idol Pete and his gambling. Got to draw the line somewhere. Now don’t get me wrong. I love Henry Aaron and all his accomplishments. But who says Hank is right about everything? I think the reason Hank and the Comiss are a little softer than before is because of ALL the players that seemed to be involved in this steroid era.

ITP Brave

July 27th, 2009
12:48 pm

Rose cannot be in the HOF, ever. He broke the one rule that you cannot break by betting on baseball. The only thing that removes legitimate sports from professional wrestling (and other theatre) is chance. Betting on the game, especially games that a person is managing and/or playing, adds too much of a question about whether the player or manager is trying to change the game to enhance his bet. The integrity of the game is instantly gone once this happens.

You really can’t compare steroids to betting on baseball. But, for argument’s sake, someone taking steroids is trying win the game by taking them. No one is taking them to purposefully lose the game. That, to me, is the biggest reason why gambling = absolute ban while steroids should be viewed on a case-by-case basis.

mowreck

July 27th, 2009
12:51 pm

I was a young man in that era and a huge baseball fan. And Pete Rose broke my heart when he got caught. Therefore I vote no … no matter what Hank and Mr. Schultz say.

BigMike

July 27th, 2009
12:52 pm

Why as a Nation we ask a man to pay his “price” for wrong doing, but even after he’s paid his price, we continue to hold him down? Everybody in life shouln’t be given the death sentence in life. The road to recovery sometimes is through a second chance, and Pete Rose more than anyone deserves a second chance, To the thirty and under crowd, you missed what a “real” baseball player is, and to the crowd over 40, tell me would you take anyone in todays game over Rose ? This guy played the game with a true passion, and was one of the last to run to first base after he had been walked. Pete Rose, and the “BIG RED” machine are as legendary as baseball will ever get, and to box this guy out is a blow that baseball right now doesn’t need ! Stop all the pandering and let a true player take his rightful place amongst the legends. The next time you do something wrong, or the next time you remember your past wrong doings, ask yourself, “Do I deserve a life sentence for my wrong doings”!!!!

WBK

July 27th, 2009
12:53 pm

I think the rule is stupid. Punish the player who breakes the rules and if does not break anymore rules then forget it. I do not like this expulsion by accusation of what could have happened. Look at the evidence and if Rose participated to help other teams win or cause his team to lose then punish him. Kick him out of baseball. However you can not undo his record. It is there. Just like the steroid driven world today. What is the difference? You punish one and do not punish the other.

sharecropper

July 27th, 2009
12:54 pm

Now, look. Nothing strikes so at the cornerstone of baseball than the fear that players and managers are betting on the game. See Black Sox, 1919. So he never bet “against” Cincinnati? So if I am a bookie doing this for a living and comes the day Rose doesn’t bet, I take bets for Cincy to lose. Rose is not merely a gambler — and don’t ever think he just bet as a manager. Nobody ever gets caught the “first time” he does something. he is a liar, a character assassin — two baseball commissioners, Dowd himself — a betrayer of trust –he managed to wreck Roger Kahn’s reputation, and totally, completely unrepentant. He has not, the last I read, apologized, sincerely or otherwise, for any of those acts. He is in fact belligerent. Take all the time you want, and convince me and others that Pete Rose never, ever, bet on Cincy to lose, and that Pete Rose never, ever, made a decision on the field or in the lineup that cost Cincy a game. Sorry, your rationale is nothing short of apologetic. If I were a betting man, I would put my money on Rose throwing games.

Paulie OldSchool

July 27th, 2009
1:00 pm

I have always felt that, if and/or when the day came that Rose went into the Hall, he should be accompanied by Shoeless Joe. There is no greater injustice in baseball than Joe’s absence from the Hall. As far as Rose goes, he bet on games as a player, a manager, and after he was out of baseball. He lied about it to the Commish, something Joe never did (reportedly, he tried to return the money, but then had a fantastic Series anyway). Rose goes, so should Joe, on the same day.

sharecropper

July 27th, 2009
1:01 pm

Let’s tally up here: called two commissioners and Dowd, the investigator, liars. Lied to Roger Kahn and destroyed his reputation. Bet on other teams, but never his own. Right. Got caught the first time he ever did it. Right. Is repentant and apologetic. Right. Never threw a game. Right. (And has it ever occurred to the wizards who right this that Rose doesn’t have to bet on his team? He can bet on other teams and fix his team’s game, maybe not even to lose, but to cover the spread. Take all the time you want, and convince me that Rose has not gambled since and is not gambling. Don’t hurry. All that other stuff (alcohol, the last I heard, is not a performance enhancer, and womanizing goes as high as, say, Congress and the White House) Rose dishonored the game and gave it yet another black mark. Stop enabling this creep, and wait for the other shoe to fall: betcha he fixed more than one game.

Antonio Gramsci

July 27th, 2009
1:07 pm

clyde

July 27th, 2009
1:10 pm

As I said in the previous blog,no.If you want to promote what’s wrong with baseball,go ahead.Promote Rose.Let them all bet.Lift the drug bans.Let the batters carry a .45 to settle arguments with the umpire for all I care.I stopped following this sport years ago because of people like Rose.If his stench doesn’t bother you,kiss his —.

StingerSplash

July 27th, 2009
1:12 pm

There is a big sign in every clubhouse that expressly tells all its denizens that gambling on baseball is forbidden. Period. And Pete’s tale now is he bet on every Reds game. It doesn’t gambling on your team to lose is verboten. It says gambling — period. He broke a long-standing and ironclad rule. And he — apparently — lied to the then commissioner about his role in gambling.
The doors to the Hall of Fame should remain shut to Mr. Rose. Forever. There is the probability that he risked the health and careers of his players in order to cover the “action” he had on a game. What if Rob Dibble had just pitched in three straight games but Rose needed to get the out and turned to him instead of someone else in the bullpen. How did his wagering affect the way he managed the game?
Sorry, Pete. No go.

Jeff

July 27th, 2009
1:18 pm

Sorry, Jeff. His wonderful skill does not get him past the fact he broke the biggest rule in baseball. There were, and maybe still are, signs in EVERY locker room stating the rule. And betting on as opposed to against his team is just semantics. The rule is there for a very good reason, and it was his arrogance that allowed him to think he was above the rule. Let him in to the Hall? Sure…just as soon as the gravediggers have filled in the dirt.

Ed Armbrister

July 27th, 2009
1:19 pm

Rose did something that goes to a violation of the very heart of the game: integrity. Rose lacks integrity — in spades. Gambling once very nearly ruined the National Past-time. Sparky Anderson, managing the Detroit Tigers, stated how hurt he was when he realized that his old player, then managing the Cincinnati Reds, ostensibly making professional chit chat, was actually pumping him for information that he could use for his illicit gambling. Rose is a rank disgrace, both a player and human being.

Willie Coyote

July 27th, 2009
1:19 pm

As long as he didn’t throw games to win bets I see no reason for a lifetime ban. Other Hall of Famers have done worse than bet on their own team to win.