Ex-Commissioner, Lead Investigator Say Disgraced Hits King Still Bad For Baseball

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Former commissioner Fay Vincent says MLB would be making a big mistake by reinstating Pete Rose.

But if Rose is given a second chance under the league’s new administration, Vincent believes baseball’s disgraced hits king will still be shut out of Cooperstown — forever.

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“There’s no chance that he’s ever going to be in the Hall of Fame,” he told WFAN’s Ed Randall on Sunday. “If (former players union head) Marvin Miller can’t get elected, there’s no chance Pete Rose could be elected.”

That decision would have to be made by the Hall of Fame’s stingy Expansion Era Committee, according to Cincinnati.com.

“When (Commissioner) Rob Manfred looks at it, he has to look at it in realistic terms. This is a lot about smoke and mirrors. There’s no substance here,” Vincent said. “(Rose) will never get elected to the Hall of Fame.”

Rose, as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, was banned for life under late commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1989 for betting on baseball, a charge he denied until 2004. Rose maintains he never placed bets as a player, or against his team.

Public sentiment appears to be swinging in Rose’s favor, mainly because of his all-time record of 4,256 hits. Some think that new commissioner Manfred could feel compelled to grant the 73-year-old reinstatement with this year’s All-Star festivities scheduled to take place in Cincinnati.

But Vincent, who spearheaded the charge against Rose as Giamatti’s deputy, said MLB would be wise to let Rose’s punishment stand as a deterrent to gambling, long considered baseball’s public enemy No. 1.

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“It’s a test for Rob,” Vincent said of Manfred, who acknowledged last week that he would consider Rose’s request for reinstatement. “He’s better than that.”

Vincent also railed against a Wall Street Journal column, written by Christopher Caldwell, calling for baseball to forgive its “moral pariah” who “is, in certain respects, a moral paragon.”

“This guy who wrote this article (Friday) must have had some sort of brain attack,” Vincent said. “Who would want their 18-year-old kid to emulate Pete Rose?”

Also joining WFAN’s Randall on Sunday was John Dowd, the lead investigator into Rose and author of the Dowd Report. He agreed with Vincent that baseball would be doing itself a disservice by bringing Rose back into the fold.

“Reinstating Pete in the game does nothing for the game. It just tarnishes the game,” said Dowd, who believes Rose still isn’t being wholly truthful based on the evidence presented in his report. “He’s done nothing to become a credit to the game.”

Rose told WFAN’s Mike Francesa in January that he’d welcome an opportunity to make his case to Manfred.

“The perfect world for Pete Rose would probably be, get in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “Because every player in his or her sport, the ultimate goal should be the Hall of Fame. But if I never make the Hall of Fame, I’m not gonna get on The Mike Francesa Show and whine about it, because I’m the one who screwed up.

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“I’m the one that made the mistake. But if I’m ever given that second chance, I will appreciate that and I won’t need a third chance.”