Affirming Character, the Society Decides Pete Rose Should Not Be Inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame

The Society convened on March 22 for the tenth debate of the semester to examine the question Resolved: Pete Rose should be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame.

Mr. Michael Manchester and Ms. Michelle Dailey, making her affirmation, spoke on the affirmation.  Mr. Samuel Dulik and Mr. Reilly Poppert, making his induction, spoke on the negation.

Mr. Manchester began by presenting Pete Rose’s impressive record and reminding the Society that he never threw a game. He asserted that sports is one of the last bastions of competition. He argued that Rose truly loved the game and he was an icon for the children. Mr. Dulik then reminded the Society that Rose was adjudicated on one issue: character and integrity. His extreme and pervasive moral errors prove a track record of immorality. Ultimately there are two main issues, that of the character clause and the rules against gambling. Rose lied and fundamentally broke the ethical standards of the MLB. Ms. Dailey then presented other athletes who have made mistakes, arguing that we put our athletes on a pedestal but they didn’t sign up to be role models. She argued that the focus should be on throwing a game, but he bet for his team and thus didn’t hurt the game. She concluded by asking if gambling is really the biggest problem in the MLB. Finally Mr. Poppert argued that this is a debate about what is fair and just. Rose is a bad character, committing adultery and tax evasion among other things. We cannot accept immorality just because athletic prowess exceeds it because our children’s children need someone to look up to.

During the floor speeches, Mr. Lim argued on the negation that gambling is a complicated issue and that Rose put the careers of other players on the line by betting on point differentials. Ms. Wynter countered that Rose had a passion and a love for the game. On the negation Vice President Prindiville asked, “Is being a great player enough?” He answered that rules have to inform the way we honor people. Mr. Henderson countered that we need only look at the history of our republic to see that we have many heroes who broke the rules and led bad lives, yet we still honor them. Chancellor Iacono refuted that, arguing that Rose broke the two core rules of baseball and messed with other players’ careers. In looking at what the Hall of Fame means, he argued it meant demonstrating a sacred regard for the game, something Rose did not do. Ms. Green countered that we’re not factoring in the issue of addiction or the fact that we’re fundamentally flawed. On the negation Mr. Arber argued that this is a question of how we honor people and that we do that by looking holistically. The Hall of Fame is for the ideal and Rose simply does not belong there.

Mr. Poppert concluded that ultimately Rose betrayed the trust of his fans and undermined the integrity of society. Ms. Dailey countered using the historical example of Ty Cobb who was inducted into the Hall of Fame despite horrible moral failings. Mr. Dulik refuted the notion that the particulars of whether he bet for or against his team are relevant and asserted that it is about the institution and morals. Finally Mr. Manchester framed his speech in a narrative about bringing his grandkids to the Hall of Fame and walking down to look at all the greats. Although many players had failings and problems ranging from alcoholism to gambling addictions, they all have one thing in common: they’re good at baseball.

The Society voted 23-27 to negate the resolution.

The following outstanding speakers were awarded Merrick points:

  • Mr. Manchester – 5
  • Chancellor Iacono – 4
  • Mr. Dulik – 3
  • Ms. Green – 2
  • Mr. Henderson – 2
  • Mr. Medina – 1

This brings the Merrick totals to:

  • Ms. Green – 25
  • Mr. Henderson – 22
  • Chancellor Iacono – 22
  • Mr. Medina – 21
  • Mr. Manchester – 18
  • Mr. Dulik – 8
  • Mr. Spagnuolo – 5
  • Mr. Petallides – 3
  • Ms. Daniels – 2
  • Mr. Askonas – 2
  • Mr. Taft – 1
The Society inducted Ms. Dailey and Mr. Poppert.  Huzzah!


Emily R. Coccia

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