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Pete Rose: ‘Baseball Is A Better Game If I’m In It’

Pete Rose (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Pete Rose (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN) – Pete Rose can now admit his lifetime ban from baseball was in essence self-inflicted.

But MLB’s all-time hits leader wants a chance to be inducted into the Hall of Fame — and to become once again an active part of the game he loves.

“I’m going to tell you something right now, whether you believe it or not,” Rose told WFAN’s Steve Somers on Wednesday. “Baseball is a better game if I’m in it. OK? Because I care about the game and I’m a teacher of the game. And I care about young players.”

“Charlie Hustle” finished his Cooperstown-worthy career with a record 4,256 hits. He earned banishment from then-commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1989 as manager of the Cincinnati Reds for betting on baseball, a charge Rose denied until 2004.

Rose maintains he never bet against his own team, and many baseball fans would say the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Then again, there are plenty who agree with the decision to keep him out.

“All you gotta do is know my history to know I care about the game,” said Rose. “I gave more to the game than anybody you know. OK? I put the fans in front of everything when I played the game of baseball. At no time — at no time — did I ever cheat the fans in the game of baseball. No time.”

LISTEN: Rose on ban, baseball future

Rose insisted he’s not “bitter with anybody.” But he made it crystal clear who could reverse the ban.

“Me being in the Hall of Fame is one guy’s decision, and his name is Bud Selig,” said Rose. “There’s no one else in the world. Bud Selig could call me or call my people tomorrow and say, ‘Pete, I want to reinstate you.’

“I doubt he will, so I can’t worry about it.”

So why hasn’t the commissioner done anything?

“I don’t know the reason. I couldn’t answer that for a hundred-million dollars,” Rose said. “I had two meetings with Bud Selig and I got along with him both meetings, OK? We care about the same thing. We care about the game and we care about the future of the game. So why he hasn’t taken it upon himself to give me a second chance? I can’t answer that question.”

When asked how he’d like to manage the struggling Mets franchise, Rose answered, “I’d like to manage anybody.”

“Obviously I wish this would have never happened,” he said. “It’s my fault I’m not in the Hall of Fame. I’ve come to grips with what I did and what I didn’t do, and I’m just trying to live my life and be a good citizen. If I ever make the Hall of Fame, I’ll be the happiest guy in the world. But if I don’t, I’m the reason I didn’t.”

Should Rose be reinstated and elected to the Hall of Fame? Be heard in the comments below!