Baseball card collectors and fans of the game are left scratching their heads after Topps made the decision to scrub mentions of Pete Rose and his Major League Baseball records from their products.
It seems Topps quietly made the move sometime in the past few years, but the pot was stirred when sports blogger Rob Harris reported the 2013 card packs happily mentioned Barry Bonds‘ records while leaving Rose to stand as an anonymous record holder.
You see, on the back of each player’s card are “Career Chase” stats that indicate who holds the MLB record for each stat that player is chasing. Chicagoside explains it this way:
“For Paul Konerko, the Career Chase line indicates that his 422 career home runs are 340 shy of Barry Bonds’ career record of 762. Konerko — who is knocking on the door of 37 years of age — has an outside chance at 500 career home runs, but he certainly won’t approach Barry Bonds’ record. The Career Chase line isn’t meant to suggest he’s closing in, but it helps put his accomplishments in perspective.”
Yet, when it comes to players chasing Rose’ records, his name is omitted. For example, Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski‘s card mentions his standing in regard to the “all-time record of 4,256” hits, but no mention as to who holds that mysterious record.
A spokesperson for Topps says it was “a simple decision,” but would not indicate what factors played into the choice. Topps has not put out a Pete Rose baseball card since 1989 when he accepted a voluntary MLB ban for betting on baseball. Due to his permanent ineligible status, Rose is also excluded from baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Rose holds nearly 20 MLB records, and seven National League records. So, who is Topps to decide that his legacy should be erased from baseball history? Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice in federal court, but his records still stand intact per the collectors’ brand. So, what gives?