So Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, recently decided not to lift the permanent ban imposed on all-time base hits leader Pete Rose.
Seems Manfred didn’t see fit to bring old Charlie Hustler back into the good graces of baseball, some 25 years after the former star was banned from the game for betting on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
The decision came less than three months after he met with the 74-year-old Rose to chat about the latter’s latest bid for reinstatement. Rose was banned in 1989 after an investigation by baseball, known as the Dowd Report, concluded that he had bet on games while managing the Reds and that some of the bets had been placed on his own team.
In no surprise to anyone who knows the unremorseful Rose, reports said that Manfred’s decision was based in large part to information supplied by Rose himself that he continued to bet on baseball in Las Vegas, where he lives.
“In short,” Manfred said in his findings, “Mr. Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest acceptance by him of his wrongdoing, so clearly established by the Dowd Report, or by a rigorous, self-aware and sustained program of avoidance by him of all the circumstances that led to his permanent ineligibility in 1989.”
If there is one rule in baseball you can’t break it’s gambling on the game while in the game—whether as a player, manager or other person in a leadership role. There is a very visible sign in every team’s clubhouse that states such and the penalty is very clear: if you bet on baseball, you’re out of the game.
I have to chuckle at Rose apologists when they say, “Well, he bet on his own team to win, not to lose.” It doesn’t matter. The fact that Rose bet on his team to win still leaves open the question of whether his actions as a manager were influenced by his gambling.
Of course they were. He’s a gambling addict. These individuals will do anything to win a bet.
One wonders how many pitchers he ruined by overusing them because he wanted to win a bet. Or how many times he messed a guy up by letting him play when he probably should have rested because of an injury? Or how many pennant races he unfairly influenced by trying to win one or two games more than other team because he had money riding on the outcome of those games and not on others?
You see how this works? He broke a commandment of baseball and now he wanders the desert for all eternity, as he should.
Rose thought he was above the game and he wasn’t. The guy never takes the hint. Bye Pete, it was nice knowing you. Continue making a couple hundred thousand a year signing baseballs or photos for aging Baby Boomers. We said it a quarter of a century ago and we’re saying it now: Leave us alone!
Manfred’s decision does not have any formal influence over Rose’s candidacy for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, where voters each year elect (or overlook) former players, managers and others for enshrinement. Being in the National Baseball Hall of Fame is the highest honor given to anyone in the game. Manfred said he does not have the authority to determine whether Rose belongs in Cooperstown or not.
The answer simply continues to be a resounding NO. Rose brought shame upon himself, his team and baseball by his egregious actions that flew in the face of a sacrosanct rule of the game. If fans don’t believe the game is on the up and up, they won’t shell out $100 a seat to watch, or follow the game with any degree of commitment.
Pete Rose put up enormous statistics, was indeed “famous” as a player, and delighted the fans with his all-out hustle every time he took the field. But in the end, those attributes are not enough to overcome the fact that he is a lying gambler that still cannot be trusted.
If Pete Rose wants in the Hall of Fame he will have to do what the rest of us do… buy a ticket.
by John Torsiello