Sorry, Pete Rose, but MLB Commissioner Keeps Telling Everyone You're Banned Forever

During a recent podcast, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear where he stood.

Mar 31, 2023 at 10:03 am
click to enlarge Former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose signs baseballs in 2010. - Photo: Mr. Littlehand, Flickr Creative Commons
Former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose signs baseballs in 2010.

No matter how many times he (or Cincinnati fans) may wish it, Pete Rose just won't be going into the National Baseball Hall of Fame anytime soon.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred continues to set reality for Rose and his supporters. During the March 29 episode of The Show with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman, a baseball podcast for the New York Post, columnist Heyman noted that Rose – a former member of the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine" – had asked Manfred multiple times to be welcomed back into baseball so that he could be reconsidered for Cooperstown.

Rose, who had a record-setting 4,256 hits during his career, was barred from enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 after MLB attorney John Dowd released a report and evidence alleging that "Charlie Hustle" had gambled on baseball games, including while managing the Reds. According to MLB rules, managers, players and anyone in key positions are prohibited from betting on baseball in any way. MLB placed Rose on the league's permanently ineligible list on Aug. 24, 1989.
During the Post's podcast, Heyman asked Manfred if the recent proliferation of state-sanctioned sports betting – such as Ohio's – had changed things for Rose.

"You've probably heard this question before, but not for a while: Pete Rose. Gambling is now pervasive. Does that change the equation? I know that he's kind of pleaded his case several times and hasn't gotten anywhere. Is that still a case that's possible?" Heyman asked.

"You know, I don't think that the fact that the law changed in the United States and that fans are now allowed to engage in legalized sports betting alters the rules, the values associated with whether players should be betting on the game," Manfred said. "And I 100% believe if you bet on baseball, you should be banned from baseball for life. I mean, that's what it [the MLB rules] says, and I take it quite literally."

Over the years, Rose has asked Manfred and other MLB commissioners to reinstate him, but he continually has been denied. Rose also has petitioned multiple times for the Baseball Hall of Fame to consider him for inclusion, to no avail.  In 2015, Manfred said that Rose did not have "a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct." (Rose was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum in 2016.)

Most recently, Rose asked Manfred in November to reconsider the league's position.
"I have apologized many times, both for betting on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds and then for denying that I did," Rose wrote. "Despite my many mistakes, I am so proud of what I accomplished as a baseball player — I am the Hit King and it is my dream to be considered for the Hall of Fame."

Manfred turned Rose down then and continues to do so. During the Post's podcast, Manfred said that Rose's MLB eligibility and Hall of Fame eligibility may be two separate things.

"I have written – I have written and continue to believe that the fact that you should not be able to work or be involved in the game in a way that you could affect an outcome should not be the same test as to whether you should be in the Hall of Fame. It's a museum, after all; it's not a competitive undertaking," Manfred said. "And I think the real question is not whether I should take him off the permanently ineligible list because I think that's where he belongs. The real question is, should the Hall of Fame eligibility rule be the same test as to whether you're permanently ineligible from participating in the game as an on-field personnel? I wrote that the first time he appealed, and I continue to believe that. I will advocate for that position as a member of the Hall of Fame board, but that's a Hall of Fame board issue."

Midnight on Jan. 1 was Ohio's universal start date for legal online and in-person sports gaming. Rose was tapped to place the Hard Rock Sportsbook's first legal bet at 12:01 a.m.

For the 2023 season, Great American Ball Park added the BetMGM Sportsbook, where Cincinnati Reds fans can place wagers.

Watch Manfred address Heyman's questions about Rose below.

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