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Admit Rose's records, but not Rose himself

February 08, 2004|by Donald Currier

Before I give you my take on what to do about Pete Rose's attempt to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, let me tell you a true story.

In the early fall of 1777 the British had a strategic plan to isolate the several New England colonies from the rest of the country. The plan was for a British army under Gen John Burgoyne to march south from Canada and a British fleet under Sir Henry Clinton to sail up the Hudson to join up near Albany. This would cut off the New England colonies from the rest of the country and deal a death blow to the American Revolution.

Burgoyne's forces arrived near what is now Saratoga, N.Y., and met the American Army under General Horatio Gates. An initial battle was joined with indecisive results. It was a costly fight for the overmatched Brits. In early October, the two armies clashed again and the Brits again suffered heavy casualties. Because forces coming up from New York that Burgoyne expected to reinforce and resupply him did not arrive, Burgoyne began a retreat from Saratoga. Although the Americans were much stronger, General Gates was indecisive as to whether to fight or let the Brits go.

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At that point an American general field commander despised by Gen. Gates and relieved of his command defied orders and led a force of Americans to attack the Brits and routed them in total disarray. The result of his audacious leadership was the total defeat and surrender of Burgoyne's entire army on Oct. 17, 1777.

This battle was a defining moment in the American Revolution. It saved New England from being isolated and probably averted the demise of the American cause. But even more important, this victory, one of only a very few wins by the Americans up to that point in the war, caused the French to decide to intervene on the American's side.

The gallant general, renowned for his bravery and leadership, was wounded in the leg while riding at the head of his troops. He was not only beloved by his men but he was George Washington's favorite general because he was willing to fight and not run as many of the political generals were not.

A year and a half later, this same general so lionized by all America became the epitome of treachery and betrayal when he tried to give over the strategic fortress at West Point to the British. His name was Benedict Arnold.

In 1937, the Saratoga battlefield became a National Historic Park. If you go there today you will see a lot of monuments depicting events during the final battle. One of them is a pedestal with a booted leg on it but with no name or other explanation. It is the only tribute in our country to Benedict Arnold, the man who we now know had a lot to do with the final outcome of the American Revolution.

Now to Pete Rose. I would like to see a pedestal in the Hall of Fame with a baseball cap showing the number 14 but with no name or other identification. On that pedestal I would affix a plaque listing Pete's many baseball records and triumphs.

I would never let him into the Hall of fame.




Donald Currier is a Washington County resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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