No, it couldn’t have. Gambling came very close to destroying the game of baseball. As a result, the rule (really the only rule, isn’t it?) is explicitly clear- if you gamble on baseball or associate closely with those who do, you are banned from the professional game for life. I believe that all living former commissioners have agreed with Bud Selig that the lifetime ban precludes induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
And Rose did gamble on baseball, and bet on his own team, although not on every game. And there’s the rub- why didn’t he bet on his own team today? Does he know something we don’t? Not betting FOR his own team becomes a bet AGAINST his own team. And the debate is still raging about pitching changes, etc, that might have affected end results.
I know I’m not explaining it very well- I’m sure someone like Bob Costas has broken it down much better.
I pity Pete Rose a little bit, as well as despise him. You can do just about anything in baseball and still be in the HOF. It is well-stocked with cheaters, drunks, druggies, wifebeaters, racists, thugs and even murderers (allegedly). The only thing you cannot do is bet on the game or associate with those who do. My grandpa knew it, my dad knew it, I know it, and Pete Rose damned well knew it. He thought he was bigger than the game and above the rules, and just a bit better than those other 25 guys- kind of like Barry Bonds.
They are both wrong.