All-time MLB hits king Pete Rose has been banned from baseball since 1989 for gambling.
This is it for Pete Rose.
His fate, after 26 years of waiting for baseball to change its mind, finally is decided.
He’s dead to the game of baseball.
Oh, you might still see him on TV as a baseball analyst. You’ll certainly still see him hawking memorabilia at a Las Vegas casino and showing up on Main Street in Cooperstown, N.Y., selling autographs in July during the Hall of Fame weekend.
He’ll just never be employed by a major league or minor league organization again in his life.
He can walk into Baseball’s Hall of Fame Museum as long as he lives, and, although he can see his memorabilia, he’ll never see his plaque.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has never made it more clear than he did Monday that Rose will not only remain on baseball’s ineligibility list but also that his status will never change as long as Rose is alive.
Manfred, in a ruling as transparent as possible, unveiled the facts in his case. After reading it, you wonder how anyone in the world could disagree.
“Really, there is no other decision,” former commissioner Fay Vincent, whose predecessor, Bart Giamatti, banned Rose from baseball in 1989, told USA TODAY Sports. “This is absolutely the proper decision. It came as no surprise at all. Any other way would have presented enormous problems, which Mr. Manfred and baseball do not need.”
Rose, who will address the media for the first time since the decision at his Las Vegas restaurant at 2 p.m ET Tuesday, again will plead for mercy and forgiveness. He will acknowledge again that he had a gambling problem and lied in 1989. He will insist he’s a changed man.
He will be engaging, as always, and have most everyone holding a pen, tape recorder or camera captivated with his charm.
No one is better.
It doesn’t matter.
Manfred informed Rose and his attorneys that his own MLB investigators confirmed information in the Dowd Report that declared Rose not only gambled as a manager in 1987 but also as a player in 1986 and likely in 1985.
So there goes the theory that it’s OK for Rose to be elected to the Hall since he would be inducted as a player who was clean and not a manager who was dirty.
Rose’s lifetime suspension will be a reminder for every player in baseball, whether it’s merely being involved in DraftKings or betting on futures before a season, that any gambling will forever end a career.
It’s no secret why there has never been another known player who has gambled on baseball since Rose’s suspension.
No one, apparently, has been willing to take that risk.
Who knows if Rose’s fate would have been different had he told the truth in 1989? Or if he hadn’t waited until his book was published in 2004 to admit he lied?
“We talked about that, but that assumes an elephant can fly,” Vincent said. “It assumes that Pete Rose might have done something in 1989 that he’s totally incapable of doing, and that’s telling the truth and acting in baseball’s best interest instead of his own. All he has ever been concerned about is Pete Rose.”
Rose was caught in more lies, Manfred said, during his face-to-face meeting with the commissioner and MLB attorneys in September. He said he placed wagers as a manager and not as a player. Yet betting records kept by Michael Bertolini, a Rose associate, and uncovered by ESPN revealed he also bet on baseball as an active player in 1985 and 1986.
“It is not at all clear to me that Mr. Rose has a grasp of the scope of his violations,” Manfred said. “He claims not to remember significant misconduct detailed in the Dowd Report and corroborated by Michael Bertolini’s betting notebook. … Even more troubling, in our interview Rose initially denied betting on baseball currently and only later in the interview did he ‘clarify’ his response to admit such betting.”
The man who is baseball’s all-time hits king will now forever be remembered as one of the sport’s most pathetic figures. As cruel as it might sound, no one might care about Pete Rose again.
Rose tries to tell us he is a changed man, too, but acknowledged to Manfred he continues to bet on sporting events and, yes, on Major League Baseball.
He’s employed as a Fox Sports baseball analyst, but the same inside information he’s gathering in his job, and conveying to the viewers, he can turn around and use at the betting windows.
“Allowing him to work in the game presents an unacceptable risk of a future violation by him of Rule 21, and thus to the integrity of our sport,” Manfred wrote.
Oh, Rose still will be permitted to participate in Cincinnati Reds ceremonies and can be employed by Fox or any third party that does business with MLB. Manfred, while admiring his accolades, won’t even stand in the way of the Hall of Fame.
He just won’t be reinstated into baseball. And as long as he’s not reinstated, the Hall of Fame insists he won’t be eligible for election there, either.
The man with the most hits in history will eventually be forgotten for producing 4,256 hits but forever remembered for committing baseball’s greatest sin.
Mercifully, it’s over.
By Bob Nightengale
Copyright 2015 Dayton Newspapers, Inc.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, USA Today.