"It would be nice to just have the opportunity to go to the Hall of Fame," said the 74-year-old Rose. "I've led a Hall of Fame life by association with the teammates I've had. I'll try to be a better person every day, to where they'll eventually want me back. My son, if I kick the bucket, can make the speech in Cooperstown."
Rose made his comments sitting alongside attorney Mike Rosenbaum at his Pete Rose Sports Bar and Grill on The Strip in Las Vegas, at a news conference to respond to the decision Commissioner Manfred rendered on Monday.
Within that ruling, the Commissioner expressed the view that "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."
"In my view, Commissioner Manfred got that exactly right," Rosenbaum said. "Pete's accomplishments warrant his inclusion. It's what history demands. It's what baseball fans demand. By design, the Hall of Fame reflects what you did on the field, not your character or behavior off the field. It's the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Saints."
On the contrary, the Hall of Fame's "Method of Election" considers off-field behavior as well as on-field achievements: "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."
Regardless, remaining on MLB's "permanently ineligible" list keeps Rose out of Hall of Fame consideration in the view of Jeff Idelson, the baseball museum's president. The Hall's bylaws explicitly state, "Any player on Baseball's ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate."
That rule was adopted in 1991, two years following Rose's suspension, "to be in concert with MLB, and we still feel comfortable that rule makes sense," Idelson said.
"What the Commissioner was pointing out [in his decision] is that the Hall of Fame is not covered by MLB rules," Idelson continued. "We have our own set of rules, but we take Rule 21 [the anti-gambling edict] seriously, and a player permanently ineligible is not a candidate for election. I don't foresee any change in that. The rule will stay."
Backed by a plaque proclaiming "The Throne of the Hit King" and over occasional shouts by onlookers to "Let him in!" Rose took responsibility for the acts that got him a 1989 lifetime suspension in the first place and led Commissioner Manfred to maintain the bar. Betting on Reds games while he was the team's player-manager earned Rose expulsion, and a major factor in the Commissioner's decision was Rose's admission of a continuing gambling habit that includes betting on baseball.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed," Rose said of Commissioner Manfred's ruling, "but I'm not going to sit here on Las Vegas Boulevard and complain, because I'm the one who screwed up.
"Unlike 30 years ago, when I was out of control with gambling, I'm a recreational gambler now. No more behind-the-scenes stuff; I'm 74, and it's a way I get my enjoyment. I've got to live my life; you're only here once. But everything I do is legal, and I'm in control of myself."
The 10-month process of evaluating Rose's request for reinstatement involved an extensive investigation into his gambling habits as a player and manager, revealing findings significantly beyond those of the September 1989 Dowd Report and culminating with the Sept. 24 meeting between Commissioner Manfred and Rose.
"I made a couple of mistakes during the meeting," Rose admitted. "Some of the questions ... I kind of panicked. But I tried to set everything right before I left.
"I just want to get back on the same side as baseball, so I'm not on the outside looking in. That's all."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.