By: Matthew Behrndt
Pete Rose is arguably the greatest hitter in the history of baseball. No one is arguing that his play on the field shouldn’t land him in Cooperstown. However, his off the field character issues and the way he handled himself with the game of baseball is a different story.
Pete Rose also known as “Charlie Hustle” was a phenomenal baseball player for better than average defense to consistent offense. In many ways, he exemplified how to play the game. His career stats are Hall of Fame worthy with the most popular statistic of his being the 4,256 hits, which are an MLB record. His off the field issues including betting on baseball as a manager have banned him from the game of baseball. In recent years he has been battling to be included in the game of baseball again, but after the news broke out recently it seems that his fight is all but over.
In a report by Outside the Lines, ESPN reporters William Weinbaum and T.J. Quinn cited documents that suggest Pete Rose bet on baseball as a player. The documents which have been sealed for over 26 years in a notebook kept by Michael Bertolini, a former associate of Rose show numerous games bet on by Rose through Bertolini. The notebook was acquired after a raid on Bertolini’s home in 1989 almost two months after Rose was banned after the Dowd report was released.
The notebook shows that he bet on one MLB team for at least 30 straight days from March to July in 1986. So far it seems that he bet on the Reds to win on 21 of those 30 days and it seems that he always bet on the Reds to win. His gambling wasn’t just in baseball, he also gambled heavily on basketball, both NCAA and NBA.
John Dowd who was the man who released the initial report in 1989 that led to Rose’s banishment had this to say when shown the reports by OTL. “This does it. This closes the door.”
Pete Rose who in 2004, after many years of denial finally admitted that he bet on baseball in an ABC interview and in his book My Prison Without Bars. While he finally admitted that he bet on baseball as a manager, the way he did it left that same self-centered ideology that Pete Rose has been carrying his whole career. While betting on baseball is a Cardinal Sin and has left Pete Rose permanently banned; recently he had been making more progress to be reinstated.
When Bud Selig, who was not to fond of Pete Rose, stepped down as commissioner Rose had a new sense of encouragement. Many people around baseball felt this is the time Rose’s banishment should be looked at again and overturned. Just this April, Rose filed for restatement believing that new commissioner Rob Manfred and the rest of baseball would restate him. This year Rose is supposed to participate in the All-Star game activities in his native Cincinnati. With the recent turn of events it is unknown whether Rose with still participate. All we have so far is a statement from Rose’s lawyer about his reinstatement.
“Since we submitted the application earlier this year, we committed to MLB that we would not comment on specific matters relating to reinstatement. I need to maintain that. To be sure, I’m eager to sit down with Mr. Manfred to address my entire history – the good and the bad -and my long personal journey since baseball. That meeting likely will come sometime after the All-Star break.”
With the new evidence that Rose bet while he was a player, it seems highly unlikely that he will be reinstated at all. While he was a great player, he has continuously lied about his involvement with betting and people around baseball who were already skeptical about Rose will now have no part in bringing Rose back. Rose will be one of the greatest players in any sport to not make the Hall of Fame and it’s because of his selfish attitude that will keep him from something that he and many baseball fans wanted to get resolved.