Pete Rose, the all time hit leader remains banned from baseball after famously lying about his betting on baseball games in violation of MLB rules. He has admitted his guilt, and has for years sought to be reinstated by MLB, and he hopes that by receiving this "pardon", he will become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I've never been a champion of Pete Rose. He's not a great guy, a convicted tax cheat, and has lived a dissolute life through his baseball career, and after his playing days were over. He was, however a great player, with indisputable career credentials.
Being a bad guy has never really been an impediment to entering the Hall of Fame, it is loaded with mean sumbitches of all stripes. Rose's crime of gambling on baseball has historically been the ultimate crime against the game. The "Black Sox" of Eight Men Out infamy, members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the World Series and were banned from baseball with no chance of review or reprieve.
The crisis of gambling on the sport of Baseball was deemed serious enough at the time that the punishment of those Chicago players was felt to be necessary for the game itself to survive.
The Black Sox scandal was nearly one hundred years ago, and times sure have changed. Sports betting, on all major sports and college games as well is firmly part of the modern sports landscape. Legal and illegal sports betting is thoroughly interwoven in American society. Salaries of pro athletes and under the table payments to amateurs reduce a gamblers opportunity to alter or affect sports contests in any realistic way.
Casino resorts now sponsor sports teams on radio and television. All major sports leagues are trying to figure out how to get a slice of the fantasy sports pie, where players pay cash to play against others in a multitude of leagues. Gambling at casinos or state run lotteries and racinos has become the real national pastime.
From a perspective of trying to avoid hypocrisy, it's probably time to relent and reinstate Pete Rose back into MLB and make him eligible for the Hall of Fame.
I don't know if it's a result of a more enlightened society, or if it's just because in the endless pursuit of cash, society and the sports that entertain us have been just that much more degraded over the decades since Rose's banishment from baseball. In either case, it doesn't make sense to not allow Rose back.