Ohio Lawmakers Push to Lift Pete Rose's MLB Ban

Lawmakers debate baseball legend's Hall of Fame eligibility

by Zain ul Abedin
Ohio Lawmakers Push to Lift Pete Rose's MLB Ban
© Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Hoping to save Pete Rose's shunned legacy, Ohio's lawmakers are considering a resolution urging Major League Baseball to lift its lifetime ban. The resolution would also include Rose's name on any future baseball hall of fame ballot.

House Concurrent Resolution 15, the subject of a committee hearing Tuesday in the Ohio House. This legislative push comes 35 years after Rose agreed to a lifetime ban for gambling on baseball games while serving as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

The approval of the resolution would not make Rose's return a sure bet, but it does increase the pressure on MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the Baseball Writers Association of America to take another look at Rose's eligibility for consideration for the Hall of Fame.

Renewing Rose's Case

In his 2004 autobiography, Rose said he bet on baseball games, but said he always bet in favor of his team. Rose has been unable to make any kind of appeal to MLB. Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, and a co-sponsor of the resolution called the position hypocritical and said that MLB is massively entangled in sports betting.

Major League Baseball teams, such as the Reds and Cleveland Guardians, have made major investments in sports betting facilities in their parks.It's time to move it along,” Seitz commented on the ongoing controversy surrounding Rose’s exclusion.

The juxtaposition of MLB’s embracement of sports betting for fans while maintaining strict gambling prohibitions for players and team affiliates underscores a complex dynamic. Professional sports leagues, including the NFL and NBA, have historically enforced stringent gambling policies amongst players, with several facing suspensions or lifetime bans for their betting activities.

Last year, Commissioner Manfred reiterated his stance to the Associated Press, explaining that the rules for players are distinct from those for fans and that the league's endorsement of sports betting does not impact decisions regarding player conduct.

The resolution marks Ohio lawmakers' second attempt to rehabilitate Rose's standing in baseball; a similar measure in 2015 faltered amid revelations that Rose had also bet on games as a player. These findings contradicted his earlier assertions that his gambling was confined to his managerial days.

As professional sports increasingly integrate gambling into their fan experiences, the debate over Pete Rose’s legacy continues to provoke discussion about fairness and the evolution of sports betting norms within major league sports.