Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

25 Years Later, Rose Has What He Deserves

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

25 Years Later, Rose Has What He Deserves

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette

A quarter-century after Pete Rose agreed to a lifetime ban for betting on baseball, it's as impossible now for me to justify his reinstatement as it was when the sport's ultimate con man got exposed.

The nickname he acquired as a ballplayer, "Charlie Hustle," should have been changed to "Charlie Hustler" a long time ago because Rose is a relentless salesman. And many never know if what he's selling is real or fake.

But here's what should never be up for dispute - Rose must forever remain banned from baseball for committing the most unpardonable sin of betting on the game.

There are certain actions so dishonorable in sports that leniency cannot be considered an option. Just ask Shoeless Joe Jackson, whose family has never been able to restore his reputation from the 1919 Black Sox scandal, even though a jury trial acquitted eight Chicago White Sox players of throwing the '19 World Series.

Rose, however, does much better in the court of public opinion. Many people tend to sympathize with him being banned for two reasons: He accumulated 4,256 hits before all those bets he placed as a Cincinnati Reds manager came to light, and when he did gamble, all evidence indicates that Rose always bet on his team to win.

The problem is, none of that overrides the fact that he violated Rule 21. It's the most well-known and sacred law in the game, one that is clearly affirmed in every professional baseball clubhouse in America.

Any player, umpire, club or league official who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game, with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible.

It leaves no room for misinterpretation. There's no gray area. And it's not like Rose did it once or twice, but at least 52 times during the 1987 season alone, according to the report compiled by Major League Baseball investigator John M. Dowd.

Had Rose been able to contain his gambling addiction to just other sports, he still might have never regained a managerial job, but he probably wouldn't be waiting for his Baseball Hall of Fame induction.

Truthfully, his continued exclusion from Cooperstown is the only thing that now matters to him and his supporters. …

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