A recent clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle was a four letter word for Red Rose.
The answer is...Pete!
Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds. Arthur says he wouldn't have gotten that. The Times puzzle reminds you that words can have wildly disparate meanings. Like, "diamond" can be about baseball or jewelry. You have to keep an open mind. It can be mind boggling.
That's true when I think about Pete himself. Pete Rose, "Charlie Hustle." He's an extraordinary baseball player with phenomenal stats;
he was a switch hitter and is still the all-time MLB leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats(14,053), singles (3,215), and outs (10,328). He won three World Series, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, and the Rookie of the Year Award, and also made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequaled five positions (second baseman, left fielder, right fielder, third baseman, and first baseman). He also managed the Reds for five years.
And he has been declared permanently ineligible from Baseball and he will never be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He gambled on Baseball--and there is evidence that he gambled on his own team. Gambling is a scary addiction which I'm happy to say I don't suffer. I love to dream of how I'd spend my winnings if I won the lottery but I've never bought a lottery ticket. Remember in the Sopranos when Tony's neighbor was thrilled to be invited into the gang's poker game and before he knew it Tony owned his business, his home and his son's car? Pete surely knew better and he knew the risks, but thought his amazing accomplishments put him above the rules. He risked ruining the game. So how do I feel about the amazing Pete Rose? I'm in awe of his skill, his accomplishments, his intensity and focus and yet I have to say, No, he doesn't belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Here he is in my drawing titled, "Pete Rose in the Crypt of the Cathedral of St Denis."
It looks like I've given him a splendid setting, but it's underground and he's getting ready to steal a base which sounds illegal but is honorable in Baseball. My ambivalence is evident here. A Red Rose; one of the greatest players of all time and a disgrace to the game.
Like with George Washington. When that other George, King George III of England, was told that at the end of his term of office President Washington would relinquish power and retire to his farm in Virginia, the King said, "Then he's the greatest man in the history of the world." Yes, but slavery.
There's always a "but." This is Washington thanking Lafayette for his help in winning our independence. Lafayette adored Washington but spent the rest of his life trying to persuade his hero to free his slaves.
Yesterday was Universal Peace Day, the 76th Anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. There were gatherings all over the world to ring bells for peace at the exact moment that the first bomb dropped.
A terrible event. But I didn't have to look far for another point of view. In 1982 I joined a march to the UN to demand a freeze on all nuclear weapons. When I told my father my plans he said,
"NO! Nuclear weapons are good! They bring peace! I forbid you to go to that march."
I thought (and didn't say,) "Dad, I'm thirty-four, a mother of two--your days of forbidding me are over." And I went to the march carrying Baby Sam in the snugli.
How could Dad have said that?
Where was he and what did he feel when he heard about Hiroshima? He had just come home from Italy where he saw combat as an infantryman. He was proud of his service and told some good stories; on family walks he'd take the lead and make us pretend we were soldiers on patrol. But sometimes he'd stop talking and just look far away.
There he was, twenty years old, home again with his family. What was he thinking as the war waged on in the Pacific? There was talk of invading Japan, and speculation that the loss of life would be worse that that on the Normandy beaches. Life magazine published Robert Capa's photos of D-Day on June 19, so I'm sure he got a look at them. As an infantryman he might well have been in the front wave of the next invasion.
When he heard that the war was suddenly over he must have felt a leap of relief and hope. Instead of going back to war and dying in Japan he was free to begin his life.
I'm not ambivalent about the atomic bomb; I'm sorry it was ever invented. I'm not ambivalent about the bombing of Hiroshima. I'm not ambivalent about ending that war and all wars.
So many opposing thoughts to hold in my brain, all from a four letter word for Red Rose.
August 05, 2021