NEW YORK — With the change in Major League Baseball commissioners came a new opportunity to reinstate the all-time hit king, Pete Rose. That opportunity was denied, as the Office of the Commissioner officially rejected Rose’s application for reinstatement on Monday.
Rob Manfred, who replaced longtime commissioner Bud Selig in January, released a statement saying that Rose’s lifetime ban would remain in place. Rose’s attorneys sent a letter to Manfred dated Feb. 26 requesting removal from the permanently ineligible list, claiming that Rose had “reasserted” his life. Manfred said in the statement that he ordered a thorough review of how Rose has conducted himself since his expulsion in 1989 for gambling on MLB games while he was a player and manager for the Cincinnati Reds.
Manfred also stated that he personally met with Rose in September to “afford him with the opportunity personally to present to me any information that might have a bearing upon his request.”
After months of investigation and meetings with Rose and his representatives, Manfred was ultimately unmoved.
“Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life,” Manfred wrote.
The commissioner noted that he believes Rose has not been completely honest about his gambling, and that, by Rose’s own admission, he continues to legally bet on baseball today, making him an “unacceptable risk” to allow his return.
“Mr. Rose’s public and private comments, including his initial admission in 2004, 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 understands the damage he has caused,” Manfred reasoned.
Rose denied the allegations for years, until admitting to gambling (though only as a manager) in a 2004 autobiography.
Manfred said Rose will still be allowed to make public appearances in ceremonial activities, but any chance to be officially associated with any MLB club is, for now, off the table.
Manfred did make note that his decision does not necessarily bar Rose from the Hall of Fame.
“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 wrote.
The Hall of Fame’s board of directors voted in 1991 to ban those on the permanently ineligible list from the ballot.
Rose became baseball’s all-time hits leader on Sept. 11, 1985, passing Ty Cobb with hit No. 4,192, finishing his career at 4,256.
Rose applied for reinstatement under Commissioner Bud Selig in 1997 and 2002, but Selig never ruled on the request.