Pete Rose was once considered to be one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball (MLB) and a shoe-in for the National Baseball Hall of Fame (NBHoF). Everything changed in an instant when he was found guilty of gambling on baseball games in 1989 and banned from baseball. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court overturning a federal law preventing sports gambling in May 2018, baseball’s all-time hit leader is no closer to finding a spot in the Hall and, in fact, his chances appear to be dwindling.
A recent poll conducted by Seton Hall Sports found that 52% of Americans believe MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred should remove the ineligibility ban to give Rose a shot at being inducted into the NBHoF. While the number is still relatively high, its 4% lower than it was when the same poll was conducted two years ago, demonstrating a reduction in support of the removal of the ban.
The NBHoF is not an MLB body. It is a separate, non-profit entity, but its rules prevent any player from being selected if he is on the MLB’s ineligible list.
Rose has been petitioning the MLB to be reinstated several times. However, Manfred has denied the requests and stated in 2015, “It is not part of my authority to make any determination concerning Mr. Rose’s eligibility as a candidate.”
Independent of the Supreme Court’s reversal on sports gambling, the activity was illegal when Rose placed his bets. For years he denied his involvement, but finally came clean in 2004, admitting to having gambled on games in which he was involved. However, he stated that he never bet against his team.
Rose’s numbers were impressive in his day—he is the all-time hits leader with 4,256, had a career batting average of .303 and had a 44-game hit streak, which was the third longest in MLB history. He won three World Series rings, two Gold Gloves and made 17 All-Star appearances at five different positions—a feat not achieved by any other player. He also set records for the most games played (3,562), most at-bats (14,052) and most plate appearances (15,890).