By V.J. Pacilio
Baseball’s always been a game of “nicknames” and of Norms,
With skills honed to perfection, each man fated to perform.
Detroit gave us the ‘Georgia Peach” , Chicago “Shoeless Joe”,
New York, “The Babe”, “The Iron Horse”, and Joe Dimaggio,
From Beantown came “the Splendid One”, from Cardinaltown, “The Man”
Their names and their accomplishments were known to every fan.
And then, from out of Redsville came a human cloud of dust,
A man-child, bound for Cooperstown, who played the game with lust.
He played the game as it was meant, few flaws could we detect,
With head-first slides he won our hearts, while earning our respect.
We dubbed him “Charlie Hustle”, a name he proudly wore
He played the game like no one else we’d ever seen before.
Each ‘frame’ he’d take an ‘extra base’, each basball he attacked,
His dirt and grass-stained uniform attesting to that fact.
Each walk became a frenzied dash, each hit was nothing less,
How long he might endure like this was anybody’s guess
But endless Summers came and went and still the fire burned
The record books now filled with all the accolades he’d earned.
The most prolific bats-man that had ever played the game,
His invitation signed and sealed to Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
And finally the day arrived that made us all feel old
“Pete Rose has had his last At Bat” the lot of us were told.
“He shall retain his duties as our manager” they said,
But to his diehard multitudes, “the King”, we knew, was dead!
No longer would the box score list that most-familiar name,
The game of baseball, that we knew, would never seem the same.
The thing we ‘hung our hats on’ was; – In five years down the line
He’d surely be inducted into Baseall’s highest shrine.
But then, a strange thing happened on the way to Cooperstown,
The man who was ‘our king’ was said to wear a tatered crown.
He had engaged in “actions detrimental to the game”.
And A. Bart Giamatti placed “strike one” against his name.
The I.R.S. was next in line – their test he, too, would fail,
They placed “strike two” against his name, and off he went to jail.
Some 20 years have now gone by, and still they won’t agree
That Rose should be in Cooperstown before the clock strikes ‘three’.
To wait and vote, posthumously, the honor he deserves,
Would be a justice not performed, a groundless ‘war of nerves.’
I always thought the Hall of Fame was for the very best,
For all the records that he set, Pete Rose sure meets that test.
It’s been my own contention; – I have thought so all along,
In baseball’s Hall of Fame RIGHT NOW, is where Pete Rose belongs.