Sep 28, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose is acknowledged by the crowd during a game with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Reds won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
On January 5, 2004, the baseball world learned that its prodigal son was ready to eat his crow and come back into the good graces of MLB. After 15 years of denials, and after 15 years of confidants telling him that he would make it to the Hall of Fame with no sweat if he just came clean, Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose finally admitted to betting on baseball. Instead of forgiveness, though, Rose is still staring at commisioner Bud Selig’s cold shoulder 11 years later, still banned from the game, still locked out of Cooperstown.
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Many folks bristled at Rose’s timing, as his interview with Charles Gibson coincided with the release of a new book, My Prison Without Bars. That the interview also came during the week when Hall of Fame balloting results were released grated on many and seemed to seal Rose’s status in Selig’s mind. Even though Rose confessed his wrong-doings to the commish in 2002, nothing has changed in his bid for reinstatement.
In the intervening decades, Selig has made vague assurances that he would look into Rose’s case if the proper evidence were brought to him, and the commissioner has even allowed The Hit King to take the field for a couple of special ceremonies. Word is that Pete will be in the house at Great American Ball Park next summer when the Reds host the 2015 All-Star Game.
And yet the years continue to tick by, and Rose continues to age. He’ll be 74 years old in April, and no one knows how many Januaries or Opening Days he has left. Chances are, Rose will get in the Hall of Fame, someday, but he’s running out of chances to be on the dais during induction weekend.
The coming changing of the guard, which is set to usher in the Rob Manfred era later this month, is Rose’s best hope in years. Selig could grant a “pardon” on his way out, or Manfred could agree to look at the Pete Predicament with new eyes. If neither of those happen, then 11 years will become 12, and then 13, 15, 20.
On this date in baseball history, Pete Rose asked for forgiveness. So far, he has not received it.