Pete Rose is asking the National Baseball Hall of Fame to change a rule concerning his eligibility
MLB's all-time hits leader was banned from MLB in 1989; his ban was upheld in December
Pete Rose isn’t giving up on his quest to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Attorneys for baseball’s all-time hits leader have sent a letter to the hall asking that he be made eligible for inclusion, which would put his name on the ballot to be voted on by baseball writers.
The seven-page letter, which CNN has obtained, was submitted Tuesday by attorneys Raymond Genco and Mark Rosenbaum on Rose’s behalf to Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson.
The letter seeks to alter a rule concerning Rose’s status on Major League Baseball’s Ineligible List. In 1991, two years after Rose was banned from baseball, a rule was implemented that said those on the Ineligible List are not eligible for Hall of Fame consideration by the Baseball Writers Association of America. That rule is known as the “Pete Rose Rule.”
Rose’s camp is asking for Rose to be considered eligible because he was put on the Ineligible list before 1991.
Rose, who collected 4,256 hits over his long playing career, was banned from baseball for life in August 1989 for betting on baseball games. Rose at the time denied betting on baseball and continued to deny it until 2004, when he admitted in his autobiography, “My Prison Without Bars,” that he did bet on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds.
In December, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred denied Rose reinstatement to Major League Baseball.
“We are writing to respectfully request that Pete Rose be treated exactly the same way that every other Major League Baseball (MLB) player and manager has been treated from the start of the National Baseball Hall of Fame voting in 1936 until 1991,” the letter addressed to Idelson said.
“Throughout all of those 55 years, no MLB player or manager was ever considered ineligible for the Hall of Fame because they were on the MLB Ineligible List. Put another way, Pete Rose is the only player in 55 years to be disqualified from eligibility for Hall of Fame because of his presence on the Ineligible List.
“We humbly submit to you that Rule 3A should be amended in a limited way, to allow Pete Rose to be treated in exactly the same way as every other player and manager before him had been treated – He should be given a window of eligibility to be considered by the Baseball writers for the Hall of Fame. His placement on the Ineligible List came as a result of a negotiated compromise, years before Rule 3A was promulgated.”
In Manfred’s written decision in December, the commissioner made it clear that his decision on Rose has no impact on his eligibility for the Hall of Fame, which, notably, is not run by MLB.
“It is not a part of my authority or responsibility here to make any determination concerning Mr. Rose’s eligibility as a candidate for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame,” Manfred wrote then. “In fact, 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 also wrote that Hall of Fame policy is an entirely different determination and that his only concern is protecting the integrity of play on the field through appropriate enforcement of MLB rules.
“Any debate over Mr. Rose’s eligibility for the Hall of Fame is one that must take place in a different forum,” Manfred wrote.
A day after Manfred issued his denial, Rose addressed the media in Las Vegas, where he lives and routinely holds autograph signings.
“All I look forward to being is friends with baseball,” said Rose, who turned 75 in April. “I want baseball and Pete Rose to be friends. That’s all I want. I’m not an outsider looking in. I got grandkids. They want their grandpa to be associated with baseball.”
In that December press conference, Rose described himself as a “recreational” gambler and said he doesn’t bet every day.
“I’m not a casino guy,” he said. “I don’t play blackjack, I don’t do the roulette, I don’t do dice. I don’t do all that kind of stuff. I occasionally like to go bet on horses because I used to be a horse owner. … But everything I do is legal. No more behind-the-scenes stuff that got me in trouble.”
Rose, a 13-time All-Star, played for the Reds from 1963 to 1978 and again from 1984-1986. He also played for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1979-1983 and the Montreal Expos in 1984 until he was traded back to Cincinnati later that season.
Rose was named the National League’s Rookie of the Year in 1963 and the NL’s Most Valuable Player in 1973. A three-time NL batting champion, Rose also was a two-time Gold Glove winner for defensive excellence.
Rose captained the Big Red Machine to consecutive World Series titles in 1975 and 1976 and was named MVP of the 1975 Fall Classic. In 1978 Rose had a 44-game hitting streak, the third-longest in MLB history.
On June 25, Rose was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame. The following day, the Reds retired his jersey number, 14. Despite his ban, MLB allowed Rose to attend the ceremonies at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
Rose was selected as the sole inductee for the class of 2016 by the Reds Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
“Pete Rose’s on-field achievements and impact on the Reds and its fan base are unquestionable and worthy of induction into the Reds Hall of Fame,” said Rick Walls, executive director of the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, at the announcement in January.
MLB also allowed Rose to make an on-field appearance at the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati, where he drew cheers from fans.