May 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Former major league player Frank Robinson (right) talks with Houston Astros bench coach Dave Trembley (47) before a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
In the mid-1960s, Frank Robinson and Pete Rose shared the Riverfront spotlight with the Cincinnati Reds, Robinson often driving home Rose after Charlie Hustle scratched his way into scoring position. Rose shouldn’t hold his breath if he’s expecting similar support from Robinson in Pete’s quest to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, according to c. Trent Rosencrans at Cincinnati.com.
Robinson was interviewed recently for a piece on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and laid it all on the line when asked about Rose’s future in baseball. In particular, Robinson said that “Lifetime ban means lifetime.”
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Of course, Robinson’s stance ignores the codicil in Rose’s basnishment agreement that allows him to apply for reinstatement, which he has done.
Robinson’s rhetoric also smacks of the type of old-timer territorialism we often see in the best of our former athletes. In recent years, he has spoken out against the steroid-aided accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, and generally seems like the type of guy who might enjoy celebrating with the 1972 Miami Dolphins when the last unbeaten NFL team falls every season.
It’s a sure bet (see what I did?) that Rose and Robinson had some issues between them during their days in Cincinnati. After all, Robinson was the established star, and Rose was the up-and-comer who would shake up the team. Both were talented, hard-nosed, and arrogant. It couldn’t have been all, ahem, roses.
Still, Rose also seems to have shared some bad blood with other former teammates, notably Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, and yet they manage to be cordial to each other, and Rose generally has their support when it comes to talk of reinstatement.
Not so with F. Robby, though.
Robinson was an all-time great. Too bad he can’t acknowledge that Pete Rose was, too.