ST. LOUIS (AP) — Twelve years later, baseball commissioner Bud Selig still is examining Pete Rose's application for reinstatement.
The career hits leader agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 after an investigation concluded he bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win while he was manager of the team.
Rose applied for reinstatement in September 1997 and met with Selig in November 2002. His effort to gain reinstatement appeared to falter after he admitted in his 2004 autobiography, "Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars," that his previous gambling denials were false.
"It is under review," Selig said Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers' Association of America. "He did, as you know, accept voluntarily a lifetime suspension from Bart Giamatti, and there really isn't much more I can say about that. I did agree to review it. It is under review. We do spend some time discussing it. But it's not I think appropriate for me to say any more."
While on the lifetime banned list, Rose is ineligible for the Hall of Fame ballot. The Hall's board of directors decided unanimously in February 2001 that anyone on the permanently ineligible list couldn't appear on the BBWAA ballot.
Rose's final year of eligibility in the writers' vote would have been 2006. Jane Forbes Clark, the Hall's chairman, has left open the possibility that the Hall would allow Rose a spot on the BBWAA should he gain reinstatement.
by Jeffrey Reynolds Sports Editor
From 1919 to 1987, Major League Baseball’s biggest scandal had been the 1919 “Black Sox affair” where members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox were found guilty by baseball of throwing the 1919 World Series to help gamblers insure their winnings.
The biggest controversy of that scandal saw legendary “Shoeless” Joe Jackson of the White Sox sent into banishment by baseball along with the other White Sox members who were found guilty and banished from the game for life. The controversy stemmed from the fact that no direct evidence linked Jackson to the affair, yet Jackson was deemed guilty anyway and given baseball’s biggest penalty.
Then, sixty-eight years later, baseball pursued allegations that Pete Rose, manager of the Cincinnati Reds and baseball’s all-time career hits leader, had bet on baseball, including his own Reds team.
While baseball itself indicated that no evidence at the time showed that Rose bet on the Reds, the evidence they had was enough that they asked Rose to accept voluntary lifetime banishment from the game with the understanding that baseball would allow him at some point to apply for re-admission. Rose, wishing to avoid harsher provisions that would not have allowed him a way back in to the game, signed the agreement.
Rose applied for re-admission a decade later in 1997. Being led to believe MLB was tying his truthfulness into the approval of the application, Rose admitted several years later to indeed betting on baseball, but not on the Reds.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig “tabled” Rose’s application, taking a hard line on Rose’s sins against the game.
Fast forward to 2003 and former player Jose Canseco opens baseball’s next scandal as he documents steroids abuse by major players of the game. Many of baseball’s biggest record-breaking stars are linked to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Numerous records, including the single season and career home run records have been tainted. But no lifetime banishments have been handed down by Selig, No records have been expunged or marked by asterisks.
Some of baseball’s biggest stars have been suspended for testing positive for using such drugs and some have even lied to Congress. But no lifetime bans as players have been allowed to apologize for their transgressions.
Which was more detrimental to baseball. Jackson and Rose’s never definitively proved betting or taking performance enhancers to lay claim to baseball’s records? And why is Rose’s admission and apology not taken with forgiveness and A-Rod’s and Manny’s are?
If baseball can accept back into it’s fold those who have scarred the games records, it needs to let Rose back in as well.
That’s how I see it from the other side of the desk. We’ll revisit this issue again.