Pete Rose has again asking Major League Baseball to end his lifetime ban, arguing that his penalty is unfair compared with discipline for steroids use and electronic sign stealing.
Rose’s lawyers submitted the application last Wednesday to baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who denied a previous request made in December 2015.
“The time has come to recognize that Mr. Rose’s penalty has become grossly disproportionate relative to Major League Baseball’s treatment of severe wrongdoing by ownership, management and players,” the petition says.
The baseball legend agreed to the lifetime ban in August 1989 after an investigation for MLB by lawyer John Dowd found that the career hits leader placed bets on the Cincinnati Reds to win between 1985 and 1987, when he played for and managed the team.
“There has never been any allegation that Mr. Rose’s misconduct was intended to gain a competitive advantage over other teams,” states the petition. “When it comes to subsequent violations of Major League Baseball rules — namely steroid use and electronic sign stealing — this is clearly not the case. They have intentionally and dramatically affected the results of plays and games, including the outcomes of two consecutive World Series. These acts manifestly and deliberately violate the spirit and letter of the rules.”
Rose, who turns 79 this year, is asking to meet with Manfred, who in his denial four years ago wrote that the 17-time All-Star had “not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest acceptance by him of his wrongdoing, so clearly established in the Dowd Report, or by a rigorous, self-aware and sustained program of avoidance by him of all the circumstances that led to his permanent ineligibility.”
In making his request, Rose cited the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players’ association, which calls for 80-game suspensions for first offenders for performance-enhancing drugs, 162-game bans for second offenders and lifetime bans for thirds penalties with a chance for reinstatement.
Manfred reinstated reliever Jenrry Mejia, the only player to be disciplined three times for Performance Enhancing Drugs under the major league drug program.
Rose also cited Manfred’s decision on January 13 to suspend Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season as a result of their role in the Astros’ use of electronics to steal catchers’ signs in 2017 and 2018 but to not discipline players.
“Proportionality has long been the governing norm when Major League Baseball commissioners have assessed discipline,” the petition argues. “That guiding principle has not changed, but Major League Baseball’s reactions to potential threats to the integrity of the game have greatly evolved since Mr. Rose’s conduct resulted in a lifetime ban from the game in 1989, and more particularly since his 2015 petition for reinstatement.”
In addition, Rose has asked baseball’s Hall of Fame to remove the prohibition that was adopted by the Hall’s board of directors in 1991 prohibiting players on the permanently ineligible list from appearing on the Hall ballot of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Rose also applied to be reinstated in September 1997 and met at the time with Commissioner Bud Selig five years later, but Selig did not rule on Rose’s request.