Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, has decided to uphold the permanent ban placed on Pete Rose in 1989, which means the sports all-time hits leader will continue to be kept out of Cooperstown — home of the MLB Hall of Fame.
In his written remarks, Manfred who succeed former commissioner Bud Selig in January, lacked confidence in Rose’s sincerity.
“Mr. Rose’s public and private comments, including his initial admission in 2004, 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,” Manfred wrote.
Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman, who has covered the Cincinnati Reds since 1974, wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“My initial reaction was I think it’s a shame. Not that I was surprised about it, I have been expecting for the last two months that the commissioner would rule in the manner in which he did today. I didn’t think they would allow Pete back. I was hoping against hope that Manfred would realize Pete did everything he needed to do since he was banished from the game in 1989 and allow him back.”
“Again, I’m not surprised that it happened the way it did. I think it’s unfortunate. The only thing that comes out of it now is the lack of a better way to describe it, people can get on with their lives now and most notably Pete doesn’t have to be wondering now if the time is going to come. They should’ve let him back in. He’s done everything they asked him to do when he was banished from the game but unfortunately the commissioner didn’t see it that way.”
With the banishment being upheld, little to no hope remains of Rose entering Cooperstown, which Manfred said wasn’t one of his main concerns.
“Under the Major League Constitution, my only concern has to be the protection of the integrity of play through appropriate enforcement of the Major League rules,” Manfred stated. “It is not part of my authority or 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.”
Regardless of the intention, Reds long time scout and Wheelersburg native Gene Bennett realizes Rose most likely will never be allowed in the Hall of Fame with this decision.
“I was hoping they would at least reinstate him to be on the ballot and then let the ballot people decided if he should be in the Hall of Fame,” Bennett said.
“He’s done a lot for the game and knowing Pete forever, Pete Rose deep down inside is a good person. Of course that gambling situation is something that has prohibited him. I was just hoping he would be reinstated to at least be eligible for the Hall of Fame.”
Brennaman can also attest to the kind of person Rose was during his playing days. In fact, Brennaman remembers how Rose treated the media in 1978, the year he put together a National League record 44-game hit streak.
“When he was on his way to setting the new National League consecutive hit record in the late 70s, he was an amazing individual with the way he dealt with the media,” Brennaman said. “He would grant time to people who represented the top networks and magazines and newspapers in the country, and he would grant the same amount of time to some guy working on a bi-weekly newspaper in a small town in Ohio or Kentucky or West Virginia.
“He was able to do all the things that would be major distractions for players and then when the time came for him to focus on the job at hand, which was to get one or more hits to extend his hitting streak, he was able to do it. I’ve never been involved with a player that was so single minded when it came to being the best possible player he could be than Pete Rose was.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.