Representatives for Pete Rose — baseball’s all-time hit king — have submitted a petition for reinstatement to the MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Hall-of-Fame eligibility to the museum’s president, Tim Mead.
Rose, who is being represented by Ray Genco, was placed on Major League Baseball’s permanently ineligible list in 1989 after he was found guilty of betting on games as a player and manager, barring him from induction into Cooperstown.
The 20-page petition argues that 78-year-old’s current punishment is “disproportionate” considering recent justice handed down by Manfred for the 2017 Houston Astros, who illegally stole signs on their way to a World Series.
“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,” the petition said. “Yet for the thirty-first year and counting, he continues to suffer a punishment vastly disproportionate to those who have done just that.”
Houston was docked $5 million and four draft picks over the next two seasons, while one-year suspensions of AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow led to their firings.
Genco, however, was quick to point out that this appeal isn’t just based on the timing of the Astros’ fall from grace.
“It’s not just about the Astros,” he told amNewYork Metro on Wednesday. “It’s a whole set of circumstances that shows the game has evolved, the standard for punishment has evolved, and that Pete is no longer a threat to the integrity of the game.”
Rose holds the MLB record for most hits in a career with 4,256 over 24 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and Montreal Expos.
It would have put the 17-time All-Star, 1973 NL MVP, and three-time World Series winner on the fast track to the Hall of Fame, but his gambling troubles saw him placed on the league’s permanently ineligible list by former commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, who died months after banning Rose.
“Every commissioner’s punishments have been correct at the time,” Genco admitted. “In 1919 [Kennesaw Mountain Landis] had to come down hard on the Black Sox. In 1989, they had to come down hard on [Rose’s] gambling.”
Two years after the Rose decision, the Hall of Fame ruled that players on the ineligible list could not be up for enshrinement consideration. He and the members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox — including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson — are the most notable members of that list.
Jackson, who batted .356 over a 13-year career from 1908-1920, was featured on Hall-of-Fame ballots following his ban, but never received legitimate consideration.
Genco will go directly to the Hall’s president, Tim Mead, to try and get Rose on the ballot.
“[Rose] is the only player and manager that has not been put through the rigors of BBWAA,” Genco said. “That’s the unfairness. They did not give Pete Rose due process. It’s an ex post facto punishment and it’s not allowed in most criminal justice systems. You can’t punish him after the fact.”
This is the second time during Manfred’s tenure as commissioner that Rose is appealing for reinstatement. His 2015 ask was denied.