When Donald Trump was asked Monday night if Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader, Pete Rose, should now be in the Hall of Fame, The Donald answered, “absolutely,” and elaborated on why he feels “Charlie Hustle” deserves a plaque in Cooperstown.
During his interview with FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren on On The Record, Trump said that Rose has “paid a big price” and “you know, you look at some of this stuff and you see — Pete Rose is the number one all-time leading hits leader in baseball, over 4,000 hits.”
Rose, who 24 years ago this month accepted a lifetime ban from baseball for what then Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti described as a “variety of acts which have stained the game,” has since seen increasing support from fans believing he deserves to be in Cooperstown.
Prior to Trump’s interview, Rose appeared on On the Record with Van Susteren in January and took full responsibility for his actions and admitted how he “screwed up.” (transcript abbreviated)
VAN SUSTEREN: Are you ever going to the get in the Hall of Fame?
ROSE: Well, I’m on the ineligible list. I’ve never been on list to receive any votes. And I must tell you that I’m not in the Hall of Fame because I’m the one that made the mistake and screwed up. And in my situation, we just live everyday life and have fun and try to get a second chance sometime. I won’t need a third. If I ever get a second chance, we’ll see what happens as far as the Hall of Fame is concerned.
VAN SUSTEREN: I wonder, though, if it’s all about you and how much of it really is about the fans?… And the fans really want to see you in the Hall of Fame. At least, I mean, very few who don’t….I’m wondering, if this isn’t a little for the fans, too, if the fans aren’t being cheated. What do you think about that?
ROSE: Well, I get good fan support, Greta, no question about that, and I think the fans understand that now I understand I made a mistake and they’re willing to give me a second chance. And my teammates realize that I know I made a mistake and they’re on my side. But it’s one guy’s decision, commissioner of baseball Bud Selig. And I probably made his job tougher over the years, I probably did, because there’s been a problem with baseball the last 15, 20 years. But he’s the guy in charge, and he can call me right now and reinstate me tomorrow if that’s the way he felt. But we’re still trying to contact him. And who knows? Who knows down the road? You never give up. I never gave up as a player and I won’t give up as someone who wants to go to the Hall of Fame, because it’s the ultimate goal for a baseball player or a football player or a basketball player.
Eight months later, Trump made clear Monday to Van Susteren that he is one of those fans pulling for Rose to get a second chance. And Trump believes he is not alone in supporting Rose:
“Absolutely, it’s time to let Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. And by the way, virtually everybody agrees with me. Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.”