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Articles Tagged 1987 Cincinnati Reds 

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When I've written about Peter Rose in the past, I get tons of email from readers, and many of them point to Bill James as a prominent, intelligent Rose defender who presents "a compelling argument." In the past, I've referred readers to the Dowd Report, which is available online at www.dowdreport.com. This has proved to be an inadequate response.

When I've written about Peter Rose in the past, I get tons of email from readers, and many of them point to Bill James as a prominent, intelligent Rose defender who presents "a compelling argument." In the past, I've referred readers to the Dowd Report, which is available online at www.dowdreport.com. This has proved to be an inadequate response.

The Dowd Report is a damning piece of work, but it's also huge and makes for difficult reading. I would be surprised if one of a hundred people who defended Rose saying they found the Dowd Report flawed had read it entirely. Just the report itself is 235 pages, and the exhibits are elaborate. Pete Rose's deposition runs over 350 pages, and it's a beast to get through. To keep track of the dates and people for this piece, I had to put together a huge timeline with names and dates, and I don't think an average fan is interested in doing this kind of in-depth research.

It's much easier to read, say, James' defenses and take his word for it. Bill James devotes his comment on Pete Rose of the New Historical Baseball Abstract (in the right field player comments, of all places) to argue that we don't know that Pete Rose definitely bet on his own games, or even baseball at all. I've read James' arguments thoroughly and, to paraphrase James' conclusion, I've looked into his argument as closely as I can. The closer you look, the less there is to it.

So by way of introduction, this is a detailed refutation of Bill James' arguments as presented in the New Historical Baseball Abstract. James' arguments run from pp. 787-792 of the hardback edition, which I'll be using for page references.

James opens with the case for relativism: he comes up with a sliding scale, from 1 "Associating casually with known (illegal) gamblers" to 10, "Actually participating in the fixing of a championship" [James, pp. 787]. Making the issue needlessly complicated serves the purpose of allowing wide-ranging arguments about what happened at each level, rather than having to address the fact that Pete Rose bet on baseball.

Pete Rose isn't banned from baseball because he got to level 7, or if that should result in a lifetime ban, and level 6 shouldn't. Pete Rose is banned from baseball because he broke a rule posted in every clubhouse:

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