Pete Rose applies for reinstatement, citing no punishment for Astros players for sign stealing

Pete Rose petitioned commissioner Rob Manfred to overturn his lifetime ban from baseball on Wednesday, saying his punishment was “vastly disproportionate” when compared with discipline of other players linked to improper conduct, ESPN reported.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., also received a copy of the petition, ESPN’s Don Van Natta said. By being on baseball’s ineligible list, the 78-year-old Rose cannot be considered for Hall of Fame enshrinement.

The petition, obtained by the network, argues that MLB did not punish players on the Houston Astros involved in the 2017 sign-stealing scandal and allowed a player banned for life for steroid usage to return to the game.

“There cannot be one set of rules for Mr. Rose and another for everyone else,” Rose’s 20-page petition states. “No objective standard or categorization of the rules violations committed by Mr. Rose can distinguish his violations from those that have incurred substantially less severe penalties from Major League Baseball.”

Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti banned Rose from baseball in 1989 after an investigation showed that Rose had bet on major league games while manager of the Cincinnati Reds, including on his own team to win. While Rose initially denied the allegations, he admitted to betting on the Reds in a 2004 book.

The all-time hits leader previously asked Manfred to remove him from the ineligible list and reinstate him to baseball, which the commissioner denied in December 2015.

‘I’m very sorry I made the mistake I did’

Manfred rejected Rose’s previous application in part because he said Rose continued to bet on baseball in Las Vegas, where he lives. Former commissioner Bud Selig also had turned down a request from Rose.

Rose told ESPN in an interview that aired last month that he regrets not owning up to his actions from the beginning.

“People should know that I’m very sorry that I made the mistake that I did. … If you want to look back, which you can, I should have admitted to [Giamatti] the first time he called me in the office in January of ’89, but I didn’t.”

Part of Rose’s argument now is that Manfred has given out lesser punishments to players whose actions affected the integrity of the games. While Manfred suspended Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one year after an investigation into sign stealing — they subsequently were fired — the players involved weren’t suspended.

He also contends that Manfred reinstated reliever Jenrry Mejia, who was banned from baseball after third positive test for anabolic steroids.

“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 reads. “Yet for the thirty-first year and counting, he continues to suffer a punishment vastly disproportionate to those who have done just that. Given the manner in which Major League Baseball has treated and continues to treat other egregious assaults on the integrity of the game, Mr. Rose’s ongoing punishment is no longer justifiable as a proportional response to his transgressions.”

Rose, pictured in a Sept. 11, 1985 game when he broke Ty Cobb’s all-time hits record with No. 4,192. (Al Behrman/Associated Press/File)

3-time NL batting champion

Rose retired in 1986 after a 24-year career with the Cincinnati Reds (1963-78, 1984-86), Philadelphia Phillies (1979-83) and Montreal Expos (1984). He won two World Series with the Big Red Machine in the 1970s and another with the Phillies in 1980.

He is baseball’s all-time leader in games played (3,562), hits (4,256), at-bats (14,053) and singles (3,215).

A three-time National League batting champion, he was the league rookie of the year in 1963 and the MVP 10 years later. He was named an all-star 17 times.

When the Expos traded Rose back to the Reds on Aug. 15, 1984, he immediately became player-manager, replacing manager Vern Rapp. He managed 125 games in 1989 until his ban and, overall, had a 412-373-1 managerial record.

Because five years had not passed since his retirement as a player and his 1989 ban, Rose’s name never appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot. He has been allowed to attend special events through the years.

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