ASK HAL: Petitions Won’t Get Pete Rose Into The Hall Of Fame

By Hal McCoy

Q: Who is responsible for selecting the music in the clubhouse and determining the volume? — DAVE, Miamisburg/Centervile/Beavercreek.
A: In Cincinnati, the day’s starting pitcher selected the music, so it could be country, could be rap, could be rock n’ roll, could be salsa and it could be loud (and it usually was). On Sunday mornings before the starting pitcher arrived, Chris Sabo turned on ‘Hail To The Victors,’ the University of Michigan fight song at high volume. However, he did not march around the room, high-stepping like a drum major, as some of his teammates suggested.

Q: What is the most pitches a batter ever saw during an MLB at-bat? — JEFF, Union.
A: I’m sure this question was inspired by Luke Maile’s 13-pitch at bat last week during which he fouled eight pitches before striking out. The data only goes back 1988 and the winner is San Francisco’s Brandon Belt. In a 2018 game against Jaime Barria of the Los Angeles Angels, Belt saw 21 pitches. He fouled 16, then flied to right. And they immediately delivered smelling salts to Barria.

Q: There are on-line petitions for Pete Rose to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but what can be done to get him into the Hall of Fame? — SUZANNE, Westerville.
A: Petitions are wasted paper and/or wasted key strokes. Before he can even be considered for the Hall of Fame, MLB has to re-instate him from the suspended/banished list. And even if that happens, there is no guarantee he would go to the Hall of Fame. He doesn’t just pass ‘Go.’ He still would have to be voted in and that would be iffy. My gut feeling is, like Shoeless Joe Jackson, Rose won’t ever be re-instated. There are other factors that would hold him back that don’t involve betting on baseball.

Q: If you could interview any player from the Reds past, who would you choose and why? — SHAUN, Englewood.
A: I’ve interviewed every member of The Big Red Machine many times, maybe too many, and I’ve interviewed every member of the 1990 Wire-To-Wire Reds. So I’ll go back to 1919 and interview that entire team to ask if they knew or had any indication that the Chicago Black Sox were losing to the Reds on purpose. And I’d love to travel back to 1869 and interview Harry Wright, the founder of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional team. I couldn’t drive to the Union Grounds, though. The Automobile was not yet invented.

Q: If you were making out the lineup card for the next Reds game, what would it be? — BEN, Red Bay, AL.
A: When Russ Nixon managed the Reds and they were bad, bad, bad in 1982 (101 losses), he offered to let me fill out his lineup card. I declined because I didn’t want to lose and knew I would. Can I use Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan and George Foster? No, huh? You want this year’s roster? OK. Here it is, without injured players: 2B Jonathan India, CF Elly De La Cruz, 3B Spencer Steer, 1B Christian Encarnacion-Strand, LF Willl Benson, RF Jake Fraley, C Luke Maile, SS Bo Bichette (the Reds made a trade with Toronto), DH Tyler Stephenson.

Q: During the Reds-Phillies series, TV showed a device attached to the catcher’s shin guard, so what is it? — STEVE, Naples, FL.
A: That is another version of PitchCom, an electric device for the catcher to send signals to the pitcher. Most catchers have the device in their helmets, but some teams are now using them on the shin guard. The catcher can just reach down and push a couple of the nine buttons to signal the type of pitch and its location to the pitcher, who has a listening device in the lining of his cap. And the catcher hopes the pitcher is not listening to Beethoven or the Beatles on his device.

Q: Do the young quick-starting Pittsburgh Pirates give you pause in your National League Central predictions? — BARRY, Chapel Hill, N.C.
A: This early in the season? Not at all. The Pirates were in first place last June and, let’s see, where did they finish? Oh, yeah. Dead last. Like the Reds and Brewers, the Pirates are young and exciting. It is doubtful they’ll keep it up for 162 games. If they win the NL Central I’ll wear a pirate’s three-cornered hat all winter and great everybody with, “Hey, Matey.”

Q: What is the true story as to why Trevor Bauer is not pitching this year in MLB? — MATT, Fairfield.
A: That’s something we’ll probably never know. It appears he is being blackballed, but no team will admit that they all agreed not to sign him because that’s collusion. Why do I think it? With so many teams losing pitchers to injuries, they could use a successful veteran starter. And Bauer said he would sign for the major league minimum ($780,000). In addition, while wearing a Diablos Rojos de Mexico uniform and appearing on the back fields against minor league hitters during spring training, he did well. But it was reported that no scouts left their stadium seaats to walk to the back fields to watch. So what does that all say? It says blackballed.

Q: Which position player and pitcher on the Reds has to step up for them to make the playoffs? — JAMES, Campbellsville, Ky.
A: It’s a team game and they all need to not only step forward, but take two steps forward. Cincinnati’s success comes when it gets on a roll and a different player plays the hero every day. What they can’t afford is to have a couple of the young players have a really bad season and a couple of the young pitchers forget how to throw strikes and how to get hitters out. As they always say about successful teams, “It’s a total team effort.”

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