Out of the many subjects you could have a conversation about with baseball fans, the issue of whether or not Pete Rose should be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is at the top of the list. Some say yes. Some say no. Some don't care either way. But the hard truth for people to realize is that Pete Rose broke the rules and if you're going to do that, you don't deserve any honors what so ever.

In true journalistic style, longtime baseball writer Bill Conlin left folks talking after his acceptance speech into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday.


Conlin was the 2011 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award which recognizes baseball reporters and their journalism efforts. And as he finished up his speech, he couldn’t help but campaign for Pete Rose’s own induction into the glorious hall of baseball immortality.


“Mr. Selig,” he said addressing baseball commissioner Bud Selig, “tear down that ban.”


Rose was banned from the game after he was caught betting on baseball in 1989.


It was nice little rendition of former President Ronald Reagan’s message to Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, but in all reality, despite Rose’s great numbers and records, he broke the rules.


You break the rules of baseball and you get kicked out, it’s as simple as that.


I don’t care if you’re the all-time hits leader, all it takes is one screw up and you’re done. Rose did exactly that and he deserves exactly what he got.


Same thing goes for Shoeless Joe Jackson.


One of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball and the ghostly star of “Field of Dreams” did take the money to throw the 1919 World Series, but the debate still remains if he actually took part in dropping the championship to the Cincinnati Reds given his impressive numbers during the nine-game series.


Jackson batted .375 and collected 12 hits in the 1919 games.


Here’s the thing though, he took the money.


Now, I’m not a lawyer, and I certainly wasn’t around in 1919 (my late grandfather was only one year old) but if you ask me, taking the money surely shows that he had every intent to throw that World Series. Shoeless Joe could have had a change of heart, but he took the money. He’s guilty.


Of those eight Chicago White Sox players banned from baseball, the only one who should have not been kicked out was third baseman Buck Weaver. He didn’t take any money, didn’t throw the series, but since he was aware of what his teammates were doing and didn’t tell anyone, Weaver was given the same punishment as the rest of the ballplayers.


Clearly not fair at all, but if Selig is going to clear anyone’s name, it should be Weaver’s. I don’t know if he’s hall of fame worthy, however, the right move needs to be made.


The secondary debate within whether or not Rose should be allowed into the hall of fame also comes down to the whole steroid era.


Some say that players cheating their way to records and success via illegal drugs and such is a far higher crime and bruise on the national pastime’s image next to Rose betting.


Again, those players broke the rules and they were dealt with.


Of course I’m not the commissioner of baseball, but if I was, I wouldn’t be as conservative as Selig is in our very liberal society. Players shouldn’t be suspended from the game for 50 games, they should be suspended for an entire 162 from the discovery of their steroid use and/or drug test failure. That’ll give them time to think.


And if they’re stupid enough to do it again - apparently Manny Ramirez was, because that’s why he retired so abruptly this season - then they’re banned for life.


There’s no time or room in baseball for cheaters and drug users. Baseball needs heros and idols, not druggies and negativity.


Why do you think many baseball critics say that Roger Maris is the “legitimate” home run king? Because Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, the three players who have knocked Maris’ historic home run race to seventh on the all-time list, have all been linked to steroid use. McGwire and Sosa came forward, now we just have to wait for Bonds to come out and say it. Or at least be convicted if his federal trial ever gets underway.


All the ballplayers have to do is follow the rules. I don’t know how hard it is to do so. They get to play professional baseball. Why they would want to put that in jeopardy is beyond me.


And if you’re still not convinced that Rose shouldn’t be in the hall, consider the fact that his son got into some trouble of his own in the minor leagues when he was caught distributing drugs to players.


Dominic Genetti writes for the Hannibal Courier-Post.