Pete Rose seeking MLB reinstatement in wake of Astros punishment
Pete Rose is once again asking Major League Baseball to lift his lifetime ban, and he believes the punishment the league handed down in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal is further proof that he deserves to be allowed back in the game.
In a petition sent to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday, Rose and his attorneys argued that Manfred’s decision to not punish any players who were involved in electronically stealing signs with the Astros in 2017 shows that Rose’s lifetime ban is “vastly disproportionate” from disciplinary action that has been taken against other players who compromised the integrity of the game.
“There cannot be one set of rules for Mr. Rose and another for everyone else,” the 20-page petition reads, according to ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. “No objective standard or categorization of the rules violations committed by Mr. Rose can distinguish his violations from those that have incurred substantially less severe penalties from Major League Baseball.”
Rose was permanently banned from baseball in 1989 after an investigation concluded he bet on MLB games, including ones involving the Cincinnati Reds when he was managing the team. Rose denied for years that he bet on games until he admitted to it in 2004 when his book, “My Prison Without Bars,” was published.
In what is now his second petition for reinstatement since Manfred took over as MLB commissioner, Rose argues that players who have been found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs and illegally stealing signs have not been punished nearly as harshly — or at all in the case of Astros players — as he has. The petition notes that it has never been suggested or proven that the wagers placed by Rose impacted the outcome of games, which cannot be said for players using steroids or stealing signs.
“Given the manner in which Major League Baseball has treated and continues to treat other egregious assaults on the integrity of the game, Mr. Rose’s ongoing punishment is no longer justifiable as a proportional response to his transgressions,” the letter says.
When Rose was banned from baseball in 1989, no rule existed that prevented him from being eligible for the Hall of Fame. However, the Hall of Fame put a rule into place in 1991 — a year before Rose would have been eligible for the ballot — that stated no player who has been permanently banned from baseball can be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Rose said in a recent interview for ESPN’s “Backstory” series that he lives in Las Vegas and still bets on sports legally, but he insists he has “reconfigured my life.” Manfred denied Rose’s request to have his lifetime ban lifted in 2015 and said the league’s all-time hits leader had not “reconfigured” his life in part because he was still gambling on games.
While he has shown that he has a sense of humor about his ban in recent years, Rose obviously wants very badly to be allowed back in the game. Based on stats alone, he is one of the greatest players in MLB history and should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But, as we know, there is a lot more to the story than that.