Pete Rose has asked to be reinstated to Major League Baseball (MLB), potentially clearing the way for his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, following a cheating scandal involving the Houston Astros, ESPN reports.
Rose, 78, has been banned from baseball since 1989, following an investigation that determined he had bet on games — including on ones where his own team was playing — when he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds. After years of denying that he’d bet on the game, Rose later admitted to having bet on the Reds in a 2004 book.
For decades, Rose has been trying — and failing — to get reinstated. His last effort came in 2015, when he petitioned current MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. Manfred denied Rose’s request because he continues to place bets — albeit legally, at Las Vegas sports books — on baseball.
On Wednesday, Rose petitioned Manfred again, this time saying that recent developments in the baseball world suggest that the Commissioner’s Office is being inconsistent in how it punishes players for cheating. Specifically, Rose brought up the recent controversy regarding the manager and several players on the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros.
During the 2017 Fall Classic, Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, as well as several players on that team, systematically stole signs from their opponents using illegal means. The Astros organization was fined $5 million and Hinch and Luhnow — who were both fired from their jobs — were suspended from baseball for one year.
Rose argues in his most recent petition that if Astros players can steal signs and not be banned from baseball, then he should be reinstated.
“There cannot be one set of rules for Mr. Rose and another for everyone else,” he wrote in his petition.
What’s more, the Astros’ actions fundamentally affected the outcome of the game, something Rose insists his betting did not.
“It has never been suggested, let alone established, that any of Mr. Rose’s actions influenced the outcome of any game or the performance of any player. Yet for the thirty-first year and counting, he continues to suffer a punishment vastly disproportionate to those who have done just that,” the petition reads.
However, the legal landscape has changed since Rose was banned from baseball, as ESPN writer Don Van Natta Jr. notes. Back when Rose bet on baseball, it not only violated Major League Baseball rules, it was also an illegal activity. Since 2018, betting on baseball has been made legal in all 50 states, potentially weakening the case against Rose.