Pete Rose Has Only Himself to Blame

By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

Pete Rose’s appeal for reinstatement was denied by new baseball commissioner Rob Manfred last Monday.

Rose, 74, hoped for the opposite result.

But it’s time for him to realize any commissioner would reject a future appeal because the truth is Rose has only himself to blame for being banned.

Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 that prevented him from working for a major league team or its minor league affiliates. But for 15 years he denied that he gambled on baseball.

Then in a 1994 book he admitted that he did gamble when he was with the Cincinnati Reds from 1975 to 1987. Now he says he still gambles occasionally on horse racing and baseball but not illegally.

If I had been in his position I would have stopped betting on anything permanently. As one guy said on television the other day, to avoid suspicion he wouldn’t make a call on whether a coin would turn up heads or tails.

But Rose still doesn’t appear to realize the severity of how he tarnished his name. And in Manfred’s judgment, how badly he tarnished baseball’s name.

Manfred told reporters he didn’t get the impression Rose had changed his habits when they met several times during the past year.

“He didn’t present evidence of a reconfigured life,” said Manfred.

The commissioner said he wouldn’t have felt comfortable permitting Rose to be a reinstated member in baseball such as being a batting coach without wondering if Rose was betting again. And wondering if the integrity of baseball would be compromised again.

Manfred said Rose had bet on games when was both a player and a manager.

Rose didn’t put up much of an argument, merely saying “I put the commissioner in a difficult position because of my situation.”

He also said he will continue to be “a baseball man” and joked that he should be commissioner.

Rose still has a chance to ultimately be voted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Manfred pointed that out.

Rose certainly deserves that honor based on his accomplishments. But considering his off the field problems it’s unknown if he would receive enough votes from members of the baseball media sometime in the future.

Being banned from baseball doesn’t prohibit a player from being placed on the Hall Of Fame ballot but it would be years before he’d be put to a vote.

But as for reinstatement, Manfred was clear on why he chose not to do that.

He cited Rule 21, which every player is given to read. It’s a rule which clearly spells out the rule against gambling.

Rose is baseball’s all-time hits leader and was widely applauded for his all-out hustle. Without being banned he would have been remembered mostly for being one of baseball’s all-time great players.


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