Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that his decision on Pete Rose’s reinstatement is on schedule to be announced by the end of the year.
Manfred met with Rose in late September to discuss the former Cincinnati Reds star’s application for reinstatement. Manfred said then that he expected to make his decision in 2015. He reconfirmed that timeline Tuesday, but said he doesn’t believe Rose will have to wait until the deadline to discover his fate.
“The end of the year is my deadline,” Manfred said, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’m not telling you it’s coming December 31, it will be done before the end of the year, let me be clear about that.”
Rose received a lifetime ban from Commissioner Fay Vincent in 1989 for gambling while he was a player and a coach. Rose submitted his formal request for reinstatement in March.
Rose compiled 4,256 hits — more than any other player in Major League Baseball history — and 1,314 RBIs in 24 major league seasons. He won the National League MVP in 1973 after a 230-hit season.
As of March 2014, Pete Rose earns more than $1 million annually from many paid public appearances and autograph signings. These include appearances in Cooperstown, New York, around the time of the Hall of Fame induction weekend each year. Although Rose does not stay at the Otesaga Resort Hotel with other baseball people and cannot attend the ceremonies, many fans gather for his autograph. His time may be coming soon.
Since taking over for Bud Selig in January, Manfred has been asked about Rose at nearly every public meeting, including the All-Star Game in Cincinnati last July. Manfred’s comments on Tuesday at the General Managers’ Meetings were brief and to the point, but he did stick to the timetable that had been laid out in September on a decision concerning Rose’s future.
When Bart Giamatti handed down the lifetime ban in 1989, Giamatti said Rose’s best chance to get back into the game is to reconfigure his life. It’s debatable how much reconfiguring he’s doing. But Rose did stop lying about a lifetime of betting long ago. And he’s stopped saying really dumb things.
Gambling is baseball’s cardinal sin. Everyone in and around the game knows that. If you bet on baseball, you’re out, and it doesn’t take three strikes. It’s on every clubhouse door.
Twenty-six years is a long time to suffer for his mistake. That’s what may get Rose the benefit of the doubt. And it’s not a longshot. He is 74 years old. No one’s going to hire him to manage a major league team now, even if Rose thinks someone will.
There have been signs of Major League Baseball loosening its stance on Rose. He was allowed to participate in All-Star Game activities and was a fixture with Fox Sports during their post season broadcasts.
Rose will need to have a lot of rules overturned to enter the Hall of Fame. He’s already riding a 26-year losing streak. His reinstatement to baseball will depend on Manfred being open-minded and willing to come against the status quo of the baseball universe. That means Mr. Rose will have to be on his best behavior between now and the end of the year.
From outward appearances, Rose seems to have gotten himself together and is making a run for Cooperstown. But the Hall instituted a rule prior to his candidacy that permanently banned players who aren’t eligible for the Hall. In other words, a Rose rule to keep him out. So assuming he remains ineligible, he’d need that Rose rule overturned.
Things will become interesting as the deadline approaches. It’ll be good to see Pete Rose as a part of the Hall, but he’ll have to keep proving he deserves it.
[Feature Image by Ronald C. Modra / Getty Images]