Commissioner Manfred denies reinstatement for Rose
Hall of Fame: All-time hits leader 'remains ineligible' for Cooperstown consideration
By Paul Hagen
Pete Rose, who was given a lifetime ban for betting on baseball, will not be reinstated and will continue to be banned from working in baseball, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday.
"Mr. Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest acceptance by him of his wrongdoing, so clearly established by the Dowd Report, or by a rigorous, self-aware and sustained program of avoidance by him of the circumstances that led to his permanent eligibility in 1989. Absent such credible evidence, allowing him to work in the game presents an unacceptable risk of a future violation by him of Rule 21, and thus to the integrity of our sport," Manfred wrote.
"I, therefore, must reject Mr. Rose's application for reinstatement."
The all-time hits leader, 74, was placed on the permanently ineligible list for violating Major League Baseball's strict rule against betting on baseball on Aug. 23, 1989. Subsequently, the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum declared that all players on that list would also be ineligible for election.
Manfred's decision, which was communicated to Rose both verbally and in writing, does not directly address that issue.
He wrote: "It is not part of my authority of responsibility here to make any determination concerning Mr. Rose's eligibility as a candidate for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, 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. … Thus, any debate over Mr. Rose's eligibility for the Hall of Fame is one that must take place in a different forum."
The National Baseball Hall of Fame later addressed the situation in a statement: "Pete Rose remains ineligible for Hall of Fame consideration, based on the Hall of Fame's bylaws, which preclude any individual on baseball's ineligible list from being considered a candidate for election."
Rose formally exercised his right to appeal his case on April 1, 2015. Manfred first requested a "comprehensive review" of the issues from his staff and then spoke to him in person on Sept. 24.
The three-page decision both reiterated the importance of Rule 21 and made it clear Manfred does not think that Rose has "reconfigured" his life as former Commissioner Bart Giamatti urged him to do in 1989.
"I believe that, at a minimum, there must be objective evidence which demonstrates that the applicant has fundamentally changed his life and that, based on such changes, the applicant does not pose a risk for violating Rule 21 in the future," Manfred wrote.
"What has been presented to me for consideration falls well short of these requirements. It is not at all clear to me that Mr. Rose has a grasp of the scope of his violations of Rule 21. He claims not to remember significant misconduct detailed in the Dowd Report and corroborated by Michael Bertolini's betting notebook."
The latter is a reference to the notebook of a Rose associate that the Commissioner's Office obtained after the publication of an ESPN report on June 23, 2015, which appeared to show that he had bet on the Reds as an active player in 1985 and 1986. Rose has admitted only to wagering on the team after becoming the manager.
"He made assertions concerning his betting habits that were directly contradicted by documentary evidence. … And, significantly, he told me that currently he bets recreationally and legally on horses and sports, including Baseball," Manfred wrote.
In a footnote, the decision adds: "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."
The decision also disputes Rose's contention that he bet on the Reds to win every game. While noting that how often he wagered and which team he put his money on doesn't matter regarding the violation of Rule 21, it points out that his decision to pass on certain games may have been a tip-off to those who were aware of his activity.
Continued Manfred: "Mr. Rose's public and private comments … provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct, that he has accepted full responsibility for it, or that he understands the damage he has caused. … I am also not convinced that he has avoided the type of conduct and associations that originally led to his placement on the permanently ineligible list."
Rose may not associate with any Major or Minor League club. These rules, however, do not cover relationships with third parties that do business with MLB. So he may pursue such opportunities unless it involves an association with a Major League club, in which case the proposal must be submitted to the Commissioner's Office for review.
Manfred did acknowledge that Rose had an exceptional career.
"Notwithstanding this conclusion, I respect Mr. Rose's accomplishments as a player and, as result, I will continue to allow him to participate in ceremonial activities that present no threat to the integrity of the game, provided that the activities are approved by me in advance," he wrote.
In a statement, Reds president and chief executive officer Bob Castellini said, "The Commissioner called me this morning prior to the announcement. We respect his decision on the matter of Pete Rose and are grateful for his diligence and the amount of time he spent on the matter. We also appreciate that the Commissioner stated that Hall of Fame consideration is a separate issue and we and the fans think he deserves that opportunity. We are pleased that we have had and will continue to have opportunities to commemorate Pete's remarkable on-field accomplishments. Any future plans to celebrate Pete's career with the Reds first will be discussed with the Commissioner and then will be communicated publicly at the appropriate time."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.