Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told CNBC’s Squawk Box on Friday that he intends to give a Pete Rose “a full and fresh look” in his attempt to end MLB’s ban on him.
“What I can tell you about Pete Rose is he has applied for reinstatement,” the commissioner explained. “He has the right to do that. I am going to take a full and fresh look.”
In response to host Joe Kernen’s query about the Baseball Hall of Fame honoring steroid cheats but closing its doors on Charlie Hustle, Manfred pointed out that he runs MLB and not Cooperstown.
“I don’t control the Hall of Fame rule,” the commissioner noted. “The Hall of Fame is an independent organization. They have their own rules.”
The Hall of Fame voted to exclude anyone on MLB’s ineligible list in 1991. Manfred lifting the ban would, in effect, force the Hall’s hand. But the Hall also could act independently, though nothing guarantees that Baseball Writers Association of America would affirm the candidacy of MLB’s all-time hits leader. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, two players boasting resumes better than Rose’s, receive rejections from the BWAA because of questions over performance-enhancing drugs. In other words, Rose gaining eligibility would only be the first step toward enshrinement.
Manfred’s predecessor, A. Bartlett Giamatti, suspended Rose indefinitely after evidence emerged that the Reds manager not only bet on baseball but bet on the Reds.
“Any player, umpire, or club official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform shall be declared ineligible for one year,” MLB Rule 21, Section D states. “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.”
Despite his statement that he would provide Rose a hearing free from prejudice, Bud Selig’s handpicked successor offered hints about where his sympathies might fall on the question of reinstatement.
“The most fundamental rule in baseball—it has been there forever—it is Rule 21,” Manfred said. “It prohibits anybody who is on the field from betting on baseball or betting on any sport. And, in fact, the rule is clear that if you bet on baseball, you will be banished for life.”