Charlie Hustle’s hustling worked wonders on the baseball field, but his hustling off the field wound up terminating his desperate quest for reinstatement by MLB, as Commissioner Rob Manfred denied Pete Rose’s petition for reinstatement on Monday.
Manfred’s four-page decision stated that Rose’s refusal to “reconfigure his life” had prompted the decision. Manfred’s language echoed that of then-Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, who banned Rose from MLB for life in 1989, writing, “The burden is entirely on Mr. Rose to reconfigure his life in a way he deems appropriate.”
The centerpiece of Manfred’s decision was stated, “Most important, whatever a ‘reconfigured life’ may include, in this case, it must begin with a complete rejection of the practices and habits that comprised his violations of Rule 21. During our meeting, Mr. Rose told me that he has continued to bet on horse racing and on professional sports, including Baseball.”
Manfred continued, “In short, Mr. Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest acceptance by him of his wrongdoing, so clearly established in the Dowd Report, or by a rigorous, self-aware and sustained program of avoidance by him of all the circumstances that led to his permanent in eligibility in 1989…. 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.”
Although Manfred allowed that the Baseball Hall of Fame, as a separate entity, could still vote for Rose to be enshrined, the Hall voted in 1991, two years after the 1989 ban, that players on the permanently ineligible list could not appear on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Manfred wrote, “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…. Any debate over Mr. Rose’s eligibility for the Hall of Fame is one that must take place in a different forum.”
The August 1989 ban followed an investigation by lawyer John Dowd that found Rose placed numerous bets on the Reds to win while playing and managing the team from 1985-87. Rose’s gambling prompted his expulsion, as Major League Rule 21 calls for a lifetime ban for wagering on any game “with which the bettor has a duty to perform.” Dowd reacted to Manfred’s decision by saying, “My reaction is I am very proud of the commissioner. He got it exactly right. I am happy for the game.”
Manfred wrote in his decision, “Allowing him to work in the game presents unacceptable risk of a future violation by him of Rule 21, and thus to the integrity of our sport.”
Rose can still make ceremonial appearances, if Manfred permits, or work for third parties such as Fox; Rose served as an analyst this year. Rose had attempted to gain reinstatement in September 1997. Commissioner Bud Selig met with him in November 2002, but no ruling was forthcoming. Rose resubmitted his application for reinstatement in late February 2015.
Rose holds the lifetime record for hits, 4,256, made the All-Star team 17 times, led the NL in batting three times, and won the 1973 MVP.
Reds President Bob Castellini said he he hopes that the Hall of Fame will grant enshrinement to Rose, asserting, “We and the fans think he deserves that opportunity.”