Pete Rose posted monster numbers in his Major League Baseball career.
Rose, who played from 1963 to 1986, holds major league records for games played (3,562), at bats (14,053), hits (4,256), and singles (3,215). He had a lifetime batting average of .303. Those are Hall of Fame numbers. But the player known as “Mr. Hustle” has never been inducted into Cooperstown because of a scandal that marred his post-player career.
In 1989, three years after his retirement, Rose was kicked out of baseball amid accusations that he bet on baseball games while playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds. An MLB lawyer, John M. Dowd, alleged that Rose bet on 52 Reds games in 1987, with a minimum bet, reportedly, of $10,000 a day. No hard evidence ever emerged that he bet against his own team and Rose, for years, denied the allegations. But in 2004, Rose admitted in his autobiography that he bet on baseball while serving as the Reds manager. In 2007, he told ESPN Radio that he bet on the Reds to win every night.
During negotiations with Major League Baseball over the matter, Rose agreed to to be placed on baseball’s “permanently ineligible” list. Every few years, though, Rose’s permanent ban from the Hall of Fame comes up for discussion.
Now, President Trump is jumping into the fray.
“Pete Rose played Major League Baseball for 24 seasons, from 1963-1986, and had more hits, 4,256, than any other player (by a wide margin),” the president wrote on Twitter. “He gambled, but only on his own team winning, and paid a decades long price. GET PETE ROSE INTO THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. It’s Time!”
Pete Rose played Major League Baseball for 24 seasons, from 1963-1986, and had more hits, 4,256, than any other player (by a wide margin). He gambled, but only on his own team winning, and paid a decades long price. GET PETE ROSE INTO THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. It’s Time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020
In 1991, the Hall of Fame voted to exclude from consideration anyone on the “permanently ineligible” list — a list that currently includes just one player, Rose.
Rose’s attorneys petitioned Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for Rose’s reinstatement this month, stating that Rose’s “ongoing punishment for an act that never impacted a single play or game outcome is no longer justifiable as a proportional response to his transgressions.”
Mark Rosenbaum, a civil rights lawyer who submitted the petition on behalf of Rose, told the Associated Press, “Pete doesn’t seek special treatment, but equal treatment to others who have violated the integrity of the game. Unlike those known and unknown management and players who used and countenanced the use of steroids and engaged in electronic sign stealing, Pete’s transgressions did not affect the outcome of any game, let alone the World Series, or player performance. And unlike Pete, those violators will not be banished from baseball for thirty years and counting. At stake here then is not just proportional treatment for Pete, but the credibility and stature of the game for all time.”
According to Dean of UC Berkeley Law School, Erwin Chemerinsky, who helped author the petition, “It is essential to baseball, and to any fair system, that punishment be proportionate to the offense and to that imposed on others. Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from baseball and from the Hall of Fame, for actions that never affected the outcome of a single game, is grossly disproportionate when compared to the one-year suspensions imposed on those whose misconduct likely did change the results in games. After 30 years of being banished from baseball, it is time for Pete Rose to be reinstated.”