Gambling cost Pete Rose a place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and ruined his personal reputation.
Banned from the game since reaching a plea deal with the league in 1989, the all-time hits leader said this week he still loves gambling, and doesn’t much care what others might think. Appearing on the season premiere of Joe Buck’s “Undeniable” DirectTV series, Rose revealed he still fancies sports betting.
“Who cares if I want to make a legal bet and go home and watch it?” Rose asked. “Who am I hurting? I’m not hurting anybody. I’m living my life.”
Sports betting is illegal in the United States in all but Nevada. Rose has maintained a residence in Las Vegas for years, and frequently bets on sports.
In December of 2015, he explained after Major League Baseball (MLB) once again denied his petition for reinstatement that he continues to bet on sports despite the perceived public perception because it provides “pure enjoyment.”
He said at the time that he doesn’t gamble on casino games like roulette and blackjack, but instead looks at sports betting in a similar light as buying and selling stocks.
Rose’s public comments backing sports betting come just a week after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred revealed the league was continuing to review its policy position on baseball gambling.
At the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit, Manfred posed the question on whether baseball was better off looking the other way when it comes to gambling on sports, or if a regulated market would better protect both consumers and the integrity of the league.
The developments show just how far the general opinion on sports betting has come over the last several decades. Though Rose says he never bet against his team and purposely lost, logs of evidence clearly document that he routinely had financial incentives on games he either played or managed.
The three-time World Series champion ended his storied career with an astonishing 4,256 hits. Only Ty Cobb (4,191) has topped the 4,000-hit plateau in the history of baseball, and just 28 others have passed 3,000.
Rose’s wishes to be reinstated to the game are primarily driven by his yearning to be included in Cooperstown. According to the bylaws of the Hall of Fame, “Any player on baseball’s ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate.”
Since MLB isn’t directly involved in the Hall of Fame voting process, Manfred says his upholding of Rose’s ban shouldn’t be cited as why the great’s bust doesn’t reside in Cooperstown.
“It is not part of my authority to make any determination concerning Mr. Rose’s eligibility as a candidate,” Manfred wrote in late 2015. “The considerations that should drive a decision on whether an individual should be allowed to work in baseball are not the same as those that should drive a decision on Hall of Fame eligibility.”
Some baseball observers believe Rose will indeed one day gain acceptance into the Hall. But at 75-years-old, the time is ticking on repealing his now 28-year ban.