Statements From Bart Giamatti and Pete Rose on Rose’s Banishment From Baseball in 1989

Here are the statements of MLB Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti and Pete Rose, responding to Rose’s banishment by Giamatti for gambling on baseball on August 24, 1989. First Giamatti:

The banishment for life of Pete Rose from baseball is the sad end of a sorry episode. One of the game’s greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts. By choosing not to come to a hearing before me, and by choosing not to proffer any testimony or evidence contrary to the evidence and information contained in the report of the Special Counsel to the Commissioner, Mr. Rose has accepted baseball’s ultimate sanction, lifetime ineligibiliy.

This sorry episode began last February when baseball received firm allegations that Mr. Rose bet on baseball games and on the Reds’ games. Such grave charges could not and must never be ignored. Accordingly, I engaged and Mr. Ueberroth appointed John Dowd as Special Counsel to investigate these and any other allegations that might arise and to pursue the truth wherever it took him. I believed then and believe now that such a process, whereby an experienced professional inquires on behalf of the Commissioner as the Commissioner’s agent, is fair and appropriate. To pretend that serious charges of any kind can be responsibly examined by a Commissioner alone fails to recognize the necessity to bring professionalism and fairness to any examination and the complexity a private entity encounters when, without judicial or legal powers, it pursues allegations in the complex, real world.

Baseball had never before undertaken such a process because there had not been such grave allegations since the time of Landis. If one is responsible for protecting the integrity of the game of baseball – that is, the game’s authenticity, honesty and coherence – then the process one uses to protect the integrity of baseball must itself embody that integrity.

I sought by means of a Special Counsel of proven professionalism and integrity, who was obliged to keep the subject of the investigation and his representatives informed about key information, to create a mechanism whereby the integrity we sought to protect was itself never violated. Similarly, in writing to Mr. Rose on May 11, I designed, as is my responsibility, a set of procedures for a hearing that would have afforded him every opportunity to present statements or testimony of witnesses or any other evidence he saw fit to answer the information and evidence presented in the Report of the Special Counsel and its accompanying materials.

That Mr. Rose and his counsel chose to pursue a course in the courts rather than appear at hearings scheduled for May 25 and then June 26, and then chose to come forward with a stated desire to settle this matter is now well known to all. My purpose in recounting the process and the procedures animating that process is to make two points that the American public deserves to know:

First, that the integrity of the game cannot be defended except by a process that itself embodies integrity and fairness; Second, should any other occasion arise where charges are made or acts are said to be committed that are contrary to the interests of the game or that undermine the integrity of baseball, I fully intend to use such a process and procedure to get to the truth and, if need be, to root out offending behavior. I intend to use, in short, every lawful and ethical means to defend and protect the game.

I say this so that there may be no doubt about where I stand or why I stand there. I believe baseball is a beautiful and exciting game, loved by millions – I among them -and I believe baseball is an important, enduring American institution. It must assert and aspire to the highest principles – of integrity, of professionalism of performance, of fair play within its rules. It will come as no surprise that like any institution composed of human beings, this institution will not always fulfill its highest aspirations. I know of no earthly institution that does. But this one, because it is so much a part of our history as a people and because it has such a purchase on our national soul, has an obligation to the people for whom it is played – to its fans and well-wishers – to strive for excellence in all things and to promote the highest ideals.

I will be told that I am an idealist. I hope so. I will continue to locate ideals I hold for myself and for my country in the national game as well as in other of our national institutions. And while there will be debate and dissent about this or that or another occurrence on or off the field, and while the game’s nobler parts will always be enmeshed in the human frailties of those who, whatever their role, have stewardship of this game, let there be no doubt or dissent about our goals for baseball or our dedication to it. Nor about our vigilance and vigor – and patience – in protecting the game from blemish or stain or disgrace.

The matter of Mr. Rose is now closed. It will be debated and discussed. Let no one think that it did not hurt baseball. That hurt will pass, however, as the great glory of the game asserts itself and a resilient institution goes forward. Let it also be clear that no individual is superior to the game.

And Rose’s statement:
I’d like to apologize for this controversy lingering on into the ’89 season. I hope it didn’t detract from the championship season of the 12 teams in the National League and I hope it didn’t detract from the All-Star Game. I know now it won’t detract from the upcoming playoffs and the showcase of baseball, the World Series.

I made some mistakes and I think I’m being punished for those mistakes. However, the settlement is fair – especially the wording that says they have no finding that I bet on baseball. It’s something I told the commissioner back in February and I’ve told you people the last four months. My only regret up to this time is I will not have the opportunity to tell my side of the story. However, I would add, I will tell my side of the story in the very near future.

I’d like to thank you people, as members of the media, for understanding me as a player, for trying to understand me as a manager. I’m hoping that you would give the guy that replaces me the benefit of the doubt as he takes over a very young, banged up baseball team.

My life is baseball. I hope to get back into baseball as soon as I possibly can. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve never looked forward to a birthday like I’m looking forward to my new daughter’s birthday, ’cause two days after that is when I can apply for reinstatement.

Published in: on March 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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Don Baylor at the Start of His Pro Baseball Career

This is a small photo of Don Baylor, member of the Bluefield, West Virginia Orioles, from the June 23, 1967 Bluefield Telegraph. Notice that, at 18, he already had the look of a man, with a thick neck and stout face. Baylor, who’d just been drafted by the O’s, would do quite well for Bluefield in the summer of ‘67 as he started his way up to Baltimore.
Published in: Uncategorized on June 20, 2015 at 1:59 pm  Comments (3)  

Excerpts From the 1990-1993 Uniform Player’s Contract for MLB

I recently bought a copy of the labor agreement MLB reached in 1990 to end that year’s lockout. It’s about 100 pages long, in a spiral notebook. Here are two excerpts from the player’s contract that’s printed near the end of the agreement:

The Player agrees to perform his services hereunder diligently and faithfully, to keep himself in first-class physical condition and to obey the Club’s training rules, and pledges himself to the American public and to the Club to conform to high standards of personal conduct, fair play and sportsmanship.

The Player represents that he has no physical or mental defects known to him and unknown to the appropriate representative of the Club which would prevent or impair performance of his services.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 12, 2015 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dave Winfield’s June 1984

I recently noticed that Dave Winfield had 5 hits in a game on three different occasions in June 1984: pretty dazzling, especially for a guy who didn’t hit for an extremely high average. That led me to look up his game log for the month: he hit 49 for 103, a .476 batting average, playing in only 24 games. Winfield drew only 5 walks, hit 10 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 homers, for a slugging percentage of “just” .650. He scored only 20 runs, and drove in 19, despite the 54 times on base. And he went hitless in 3 games. The 49 hits propelled Winfield to conclude 1984 with a .340 average, three points behind Don Mattingly.

In the summer of 2004, when Ichiro seemed to be getting 2 to 4 hits in every single game, I heard quite a few times about how his 50 hits in a month-he had done it in May of ’04, then did it again in July and August-were, if I remember right, the first time an MLB hitter had reached 50 hits in a month since Pete Rose, or maybe Rod Carew, sometime in the ’70s. Winfield would have done it in June of ’84 (perhaps even reached 60 hits) if he’d played in more than 2 games after June 23, presumably because he tweaked a muscle or had some other minor injury late that month. Instead, he went 5-5 on June 25, then pinch-ran on the 29th in a game vs. the Royals. Winfield got 9 more hits in July’s first 5 games: from May 24 through July 5, he got 70 hits in 36 games, hitting .458 in that time.

Published in: Uncategorized on June 3, 2015 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

The 1979 Annual Dinner of the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association

Here is the cover of the program for this dinner, held at a Boston Sheraton in January of ’79, at which awards from the Boston chapter for 1978 were given out. Jim Rice, following his outstanding season, got on the cover:

You notice, paging through the program, how the chapter, if not quite on the Red Sox’s bandwagon, was quite a ways from showing a hard-bitten, skeptical, cynical attitude. This was not a press corps with a combative attitude toward the Sox. For example, this drawing of Dennis Eckersley, for his choice as Pitcher of the Year, has what looks like a journalist, down at Eck’s feet, saying “Gettin’ him. . . was a great deal. . . thanks Cleveland!”:

Published in: Uncategorized on May 16, 2015 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

“I’m a Lefebvre Belebvre!”

The Seattle Mariners issued this bumper sticker in 1989, in hopes that Jim Lefebvre’s personality and energy, and track record of winning as a player with the Dodgers in the ’60s and A’s coach in 1988, would propel the team to new heights in 1989 and beyond. It didn’t really happen: the team edged above .500 for the first time in 1991, but Lefebvre wound up getting fired after that year. Personality conflicts were the reason, I think. The slogan could be tweaked to apply to Justin Bieber as well, though his star seems to have fallen a bit in the past couple years.



Published in: Uncategorized on May 3, 2015 at 9:27 am  Comments (3)  

Whitey Ford Batting in the 1961 World Series

This is a little photo I got from the newspaper archives, of Whitey hitting the dirt after getting hit by a ball he’d foul-tipped off his bat. He was in the midst of extending his scoreless innings pitched in the Series streak, with the Yankees winning game 4, 7-0, before just 32,589 at Crosley Field.




Published in: Uncategorized on April 23, 2015 at 10:27 am  Comments (1)  

The First Seattle Mariners Media Guide: 1977

This is a small curiosity: the first Mariners media guide pictured the Kingdome prominently on its cover, and told everybody “We can do it together!” 38 years later, the Kingdome is long gone, and the Mariners are still trying to win their first A.L. pennant.


Published in: Uncategorized on April 11, 2015 at 1:29 pm  Comments (3)  

The 1995 “Miracle” Seattle Mariners

This is the Seattle Times section, featuring Ken Griffey’s slide into home plate to win the 1995 ALDS over the Yankees, that celebrates what’s still the best moment in Mariners history:


I post it here, now, because of enthusiasm that the M’s will finally make it back to the playoffs in 2015, and because it’s 20 years since that ’95 season.

Published in: Uncategorized on March 20, 2015 at 10:39 am  Comments (1)  

A Few Notes on Jimmie Foxx’s Hitting in 1938

These are some features I noticed, looking through Foxx’s game log. In 1938, Foxx achieved each stop from 1 to 8 RBIs in a game, which I could see being a feat no one else has achieved in MLB history. Foxx twice drove in 6 runs in one game, drove in 4 runs in six games, and closed out the 149-game season with 7 RBIs vs. the Yankees on October 1. He had a streak of 14 RBIs over 5 games, and a streak of 13 RBIs in 4 games. He drew 6 walks in one game, vs. the Browns on June 16.

He did these things without the benefit of Ted Williams: the Red Sox who finished  second to Foxx’s 175 RBIs was Pinky Higgins with 106, and second behind Foxx’s  50 homers was Joe Cronin with 17.

Published in: Uncategorized on February 23, 2015 at 5:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Team Sub-.300 Winning Percentages

Wikipedia has a convenient page listing the 34 sub-.300 winning percentages posted by MLB teams from the 1870s to the present. Here are a few observations gleaned from that list.

The only sub-.235% teams played before 1900: 5 of them.

There have been 20 sub-.300% teams from 1900 onward, versus 14 before 1900. 16 of those 20 teams were in the Northeast (that is, from D.C. to Boston and west to Pittsburgh).

Eight of the 34 teams have been editions of the Philadelphia Phillies or Philadelphia A’s. The St. Louis Browns (3) are the only team west of the Mississippi River on the list.

Three of the 34 teams played after the end of World War II; 3 played during WWII (all of them Phillies teams), and 4 played during the ’30s. The Phillies had 5 seasons from 1938-1945 of sub-.300 records. In those 5 seasons, they cumulatively went 221-539, for a .291 winning percentage. I don’t know the franchise’s history in detail, but it sounds like it suffered from malfeasance or severe incompetence during those years. All that losing explains the fervor and exhilaration that surrounded their pennant-winning Whiz Kids team in 1950.

Finally: in light of the recent scarcity of teams losing more than 105 games in a season-even the 2013 Astros only lost 111 games-the fact of the 2003 Tigers going 43-119 (.265%) is almost inexplicable.

Published in: Uncategorized on February 8, 2015 at 10:12 am  Comments (2)  

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