In a 19-page letter submitted to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday, Rose and his lawyers argue that Manfred’s reluctance to punish active players in a cheating scandal opens the door to reinstating baseball’s all-time hits leader. Rose has been banned from the game since 1989, when then-commissioner Bart Giamatti placed him on the permanently ineligible list for betting on games.
As he’s maintained over the years, Rose reiterated his regret for violating the rules.
“However, in recent years, intentional and covert acts by current and past owners, managers, coaches, and players altered the outcomes of numerous games, including the World Series, and illegally enhanced both team and player performance,” the letter reads. ”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.
“Given the manner in which Major League Baseball has treated and continues to treat other egregious assaults on the integrity of the game, Mr. Rose’s ongoing punishment is no longer justifiable as a proportional response to his transgressions.”
Rose has admitted he gambled on the Cincinnati Reds while managing the team in the 1980s. He had most recently applied for reinstatement in 2015, but Manfred rejected the proposal.
This time, Rose’s lawyers used the MLB investigation that led to the suspensions and dismissal of former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch to argue that Rose’s punishment is no longer proportional to his transgression.
“Major League Baseball’s reactions to potential threats to the integrity of the game have greatly evolved since Mr. Rose’s conduct resulted in a lifetime ban from the game in 1989, and more particularly since his 2015 petition for reinstatement. As a result, the pattern of discipline for rules violations has reformed significantly, and recent Commissioners have set a clear precedent that serious violations of the rules no longer necessitate lifetime bans from the game of baseball.”
Rose, according to the letter, “would be grateful” to meet with Manfred and further argue his case.
The petition also includes an addendum for Rose to be considered for the Hall of Fame, and the letter asks Hall president Tim Mead to let the voters (baseball writers) decide his fate. A player on the ineligible list cannot qualify for the Hall, according to a rule passed in 1991 after Rose’s scandal broke.
“Mr. Rose knows better than any current or former baseball player alive today that no person is above the game,” the letter reads. ”His current request for reinstatement reflects his deep desire to ensure that he can devote his remaining years to teaching the next generation of baseball players the lasting consequences for harming the integrity of America’s pastime.”
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