Pete Rose, banned for life from Major League Baseball for gambling on games, has written a letter to Commissioner Rob Manfred to get the ban lifted so he can be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
Rose, 81, the major-league career hits leader and regarded as one of the game's greatest hitters, was banned for life in 1989 after his gambling scandal came to light. He has made several unsuccessful attempts over the years to get the ban lifted.
But TMZ reported Rose made an emotional plea in his letter to Manfred to lift the ban so he can be enshrined in the Hall of Fame before he dies. The Baseball Writers Association of America, which sets rules for eligibility to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, has a rule that "any player on Baseball's ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate."
"I have apologized many times, both for betting on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds and then denying that I did," Rose wrote in the letter. "I am writing today for three reasons. First, because at my age I want to be 100% sure that you understand how much I mean it when I say that I’m sorry.
"Second, to ask you for forgiveness. And third, because I still think every day what it would mean to be considered for the Hall of Fame."
Rose's credentials on the field were more than enough for him to be enshrined if there were no ban. He is the MLB career leader in hits (4,295), games played (3,562) and at-bats (14,053). He played on three World Series championship teams — two being the "Big Red Machine," aka the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s — and was a 17-time All-Star.
In the letter, Rose admitted he let down his fans and teammates, actions he said were among his greatest regrets, and brought shame to the sport, something he said he thinks about "every single day."
"I am asking for your forgiveness," Rose said at the end of his letter. "Despite my many mistakes, I am so proud of what I accomplished as a baseball player. ... Like all of us, I believe in accountability. I am 81 years old and know that I have been held accountable and that I hold myself accountable. I write now to ask for another chance."
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