Hall of Famers encourage Selig to consider lifting Rose’s lifetime ban

Published 2:32 am Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ST. LOUIS — Twelve years later, baseball commissioner Bud Selig still is examining Pete Rose’s application for reinstatement.

The career hits leader agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 after an investigation concluded he bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win while he was manager of the team.

Despite a report that he is “seriously considering” reinstating Pete Rose, MLB commissioner Bud Selig has not changed his thinking, sources told ESPN on Monday.

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The New York Daily News reported that Selig was taking a new look at the ban for baseball’s all-time hits leader.

Hank Aaron’s support for Rose’s Hall of Fame inclusion, which he mentioned at this weekend’s ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., is a strong indication of Selig’s possible action, the Daily News reported.

“I would like to see Pete in,” Aaron said. “He belongs there.”

Hall of Famers Joe Morgan — a former Rose teammate — and Ozzie Smith both favor Rose’s reinstatement.

Rose applied for reinstatement in September 1997 and met with Selig in November 2002. His effort to gain reinstatement appeared to falter after he admitted in his 2004 autobiography, “Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars,” that his previous gambling denials were false.

“It is under review,” Selig said Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. “He did, as you know, accept voluntarily a lifetime suspension from Bart Giamatti, and there really isn’t much more I can say about that. I did agree to review it. It is under review. We do spend some time discussing it. But it’s not I think appropriate for me to say any more.”

While on the lifetime banned list, Rose is ineligible for the Hall of Fame ballot. The Hall’s board of directors decided unanimously in February 2001 that anyone on the permanently ineligible list couldn’t appear on the BBWAA ballot.

Rose’s final year of eligibility in the writers’ vote would have been 2006. Jane Forbes Clark, the Hall’s chairman, has left open the possibility that the Hall would allow Rose a spot on the BBWAA should he gain reinstatement.