Pete Rose left federal prison Monday and could be headed for Hall of Fame limbo on Thursday.
Rose served five months for federal income tax evasion and now begins the second part of his sentence.All of this has nothing to do with his lifetime ban from baseball. Rose was supposed to be eligible for baseball reinstatement after one year, but he was unable to apply.
His tax troubles and the baseball ban were two rather imposing strikes against Rose's chances for election to the Hall of Fame. Now, though, the people from Cooperstown seem to be aiming another high hard one at the man who accumulated more hits than any player in baseball history.
The Hall of Fame is convening a meeting Thursday with the stated purpose of reviewing its voting procedures. Pete Rose's name does not appear on the agenda. However, it almost certainly will pop up.
Why would there be a review of voting procedures now? Executives of the Hall of Fame say it is a periodic procedure. "I've been involved since 1966," said Jack Lang, executive secretary of the Baseball Writers Association, "and this is the first time I've been called for a review of the voting procedures."
The procedures are simple. A player with 10 years of service who is retired five years and passes the scrutiny of a Baseball Writers Association of America screening committee, gets to the ballot. If he receives 75 percent of the votes cast by 10-year members of the association, he is elected.
Ed Stack, who will preside over Thursday's meeting, said he anticipated no changes coming out of Thursday's meeting. "There's no harm in taking a look at the procedures," he said. He does expect Rose's name to come up. "Someone will bring it up," he said. "With all the publicity, it's bound to happen."