Pete Rose ban remains in place

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On Monday, Rob Manfred, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, called the All Time Hits Leader (4,256), Pete Rose, to inform him his lifetime ban from baseball would remain in place.

On Tuesday Rose held a press conference to respond to the commissioner’s decision, saying he put Manfred “in a tough spot to make a judgment on my situation.”

Manfred cited Rose’s continued gambling and evidence that he had bet on games as a player and manager for the Cincinnati Reds.

“I am disappointed, obviously disappointed, but I will continue to be the best baseball fan in the world.”

Pete Rose being introduced during the 2015 All-Star Game at Great America Ballpark in Cincinnati, OH (YouTube)
Pete Rose being introduced during the 2015 All-Star Game at Great America Ballpark in Cincinnati, OH (YouTube)

Even if the commissioner had reinstated Rose, there is no indication the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown would lift their ban (it is a separate entity from the MLB) nor was it a sure thing the people that vote on HoF entries would have given that honor to Rose.

Even his supporters acknowledge Rose has not pursued a path to redemption, as some have called it. He has never been completely honest about his gambling and connections to illegal bookmakers. It wasn’t until 2004 that Pete Rose first admitted to gambling on baseball, including his own team, although he insists he never bet against the Reds.

Rose denied ever betting on baseball as a player, despite proof he did. According to Manfred’s statement, Pete Rose still did not have a clear understanding of what he did wrong, or that he even did anything wrong. Rose admitted to Commissioner Manfred that he was still gambling on sports, including baseball.

This is why no commissioner since Bart Giamatti imposed the lifetime ban, has been willing to re-instate “Charlie Hustle” into baseball. It seems like Rose has only admitted his crimes (and some of them were real crimes) because he wanted the ban lifted, not because he was remorseful about his actions. That he only accepted the lifetime ban in 1989 to avoid criminal prosecution for, and a public airing of, the worst charges against him.

Many baseball fans who grew up watching Pete Rose play think of him as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, to ever play the game. The thunderous applause he received when introduced at this year’s All-Star Game, which was held at Great America Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of the Reds, was an indication that Reds fans — baseball fans — haven’t forgotten Pete Rose and that they have forgiven him. But many more have not forgotten what he did to get banned and what he has done since that ban was imposed and they have not forgiven Pete Rose.

Pete Rose, as part of the “Big Red Machine,.” at bat. (Wikipedia)
Pete Rose, as part of the “Big Red Machine,.” at bat. (Wikipedia)

Some have questioned why Pete Rose is still banned, but former Players Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds were still in baseball as coaches. Bonds had been convicted of obstruction of justice charges in a federal investigation of steroid use, but later had the conviction over turned. In 2010 McGwire admitted to using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) for much of his career.

The difference for many is that Pete Rose broke the cardinal rule of baseball: Never bet on the game, especially your own team. Pete Rose has done both. And let’s be fair: many people don’t think Bonds and McGwire should be allowed in baseball.

In 1919 members of the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series, ironically helping the Cincinnati Reds win it. Six of those members have been banned for life for conspiring with underworld figures to fix the series. Is Pete Rose any less heinous than them?

We will never really know whether Pete Rose fixed games to satisfy bookmakers. He’s never been completely honest about his gambling on sports and baseball in particular — and most particular his own team, the Cincinnati Reds.

Pete Rose will remain banned from baseball for the rest of his life. It’s up to future commissioners to determine if Rose has achieved the redemption needed to be reinstated.

Claudia Gestro contributed to this article.

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