Pete Rose Still Banned from Baseball
Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. announced Monday baseball's all-time hits leader was denied reinstatement.
The Hall of Fame does not consider for induction any person on baseball's restricted list.
In a four-page written decision, Manfred said Rose applied for reinstatement in a letter asking for the chance to show he had reconfigured his life since he was banned for betting on baseball in 1989.
Manfred concludes in the report, "Mr. Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life."
It was the third time Rose appealed the ban, initially imposed after an investigation by baseball, known as the Dowd report.
It concluded that Rose had bet on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds and that some of the bets were placed on his own team.
In the decision, Manfred said during a meeting with Rose in September in New York City that Rose informed him he had continued to bet on baseball, legally, where he lives in Las Vegas.
That clearly concerned the current commissioner. I say current because this has been before three baseball commissioners now.
He first applied for reinstatement in 1992, just three years after being barred by Commissioner Bart Giamatti. Baseball's commissioner then was Fay Vincent and he did not act on the request.
In 1997 Rose tried again, going before Bud Selig. Selig also did not act on the request.
Rose had clearly broken Major League Rule 21, which is boldly in Major League club houses and dugouts banning any player, coach, manager or team executive from betting on baseball to preserve the integrity of the game.
In his decision, Manfred said the evidence shows Rose, 74, had "never seriously sought treatment" for a gambling addiction.
"Mr. Rose's public and private comments provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct, that he has accepted full responsibility for it, or that he understand the damage he has caused," Manfred said.
In his decision, Manfred said Rose can continue to participate in ceremonial activities associated with Major League Baseball, with advance permission from the commissioner's office.
Manfred does say in his decision: "It is not part of my authority or responsibility here to make any determination concerning Mr. Rose's eligibility as a candidate for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, in my view, the considerations that should drive a decision on whether an individual should be allowed to work in Baseball are not the same as those that should drive a decision on Hall of Fame eligibility."
Manfred goes on to say, "Thus, any debate over Mr. Rose's eligibility for the Hall of Fame is one that must take place in a different forum."
The commissioner said in his decision that Rule 21 is pretty specific and "provides a limitation on the power of the Commissioner in the sense the penalty for a player or manager who bets on a game in which he has a duty to perform is mandatory, permanent ineligibility" from baseball.
The Hall of Fame in 1991 voted to formally exclude any person from induction who was banned by baseball.
But it does seem Manfred's comment casts a different light on the Hall of Fame question versus the banning from direct Major League Baseball involvement.
If the Hall were to decide to allow him to be a candidate, he would be voted on by the Hall's Veterans Committee since Rose's eligibility for the traditional writers' ballot has expired long ago.
I really have wrestled with this over the years. When I watched Pete Rose play the game while growing up, "Charlie Hustle" played the game hard.
He finished with 4,256 hits, three World Series rings, three batting titles and 17 selections to to the All-Star Game.
Judging by that he would be an automatic, don't you think?
The Hall of Fame is riddled with people who might not have the morals admired by many.
Babe Ruth was pretty open about his dislike of Ty Cobb the person and admiration for the ballplayer when he said, "Cobb is a prick, but he sure can hit."
Cobb was a southern Protestant who reportedly hated northerners, Catholics, blacks and basically anybody who was not like him and he was inducted in the first Hall of Fame class.
Hall of Fame player Tris Speaker was a member of the KKK.
I could probably cite a few other examples.
I agree with the commissioner that the Hall of Fame and eligibility to work directly with Major League Baseball are two separate issues.
Rule 21 is pretty clear and is displayed in every clubhouse in the majors.
But Rose's accomplishments on the field can't be denied. Just as you can't deny Tris Speaker or Ty Cobb or countless other characters in the game.
My opinion is you can maintain his ban from direct work with Major League Baseball but put the man in the Hall of Fame.
I sure would like to know what you think.