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Pete Rose

Pete Rose

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Is baseball commissioner Bud Selig "seriously considering" reinstating all-time major-league hit king and admitted baseball gambler Pete Rose to the game, clearing a path for Rose to get into the Hall of Fame? A New York Daily News story yesterday said Selig "is said to be seriously considering" lifting Rose's ban "thanks to the behind-the-scenes lobbying from some of the most influential Hall of Famers." Selig did not respond to a request for comment, but other Major League Baseball officials threw water on the unsourced report and on the idea floated in the story that Hank Aaron's weekend endorsement of Rose's reinstatement might forecast a move by Selig.

At events surrounded last weekend's Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown, N.Y., Aaron added his voice to those calling for Rose's reinstatement.

"He belongs in, really," Aaron said in a USA Today story.

"His career is one that he needs to be right here in the middle of all of this." "At no time during the entire weekend or at any time [this year] was [Selig] lobbied on behalf of Pete Rose," Rich Levin, Major League Baseball's senior vice president of public relations, said yesterday.

"Hank Aaron and the commissioner are very close.

They had dinner on Saturday night.

Hank never mentioned a word to him." Levin said the issue of Rose's reinstatement "remains under review." Former commissioner Fay Vincent, a critic of any potential reinstatement, said he thought it was unlikely that Selig would choose this time to make a move after the NBA so recently dealt with a gambling scandal involving referee Tim Donaghy, who went to prison after admitting he purposefully provided betting information to gamblers.

"This issue is not about Pete Rose.

It's about baseball.

Pete Rose has never understood that," Vincent said.

"How do you keep baseball from being corrupted by the enormous American affection for gambling? .



That's the one that could kill this golden goose, if people thought the games were rigged, if it became professional wrestling and not a game where rules count." Vincent said he thought Selig recognizes that this isn't the time to "change the deterrent that has worked so well," referring to rule against participants gambling on baseball.

After years of denials, Rose admitted in his 2004 book that he bet on baseball regularly while managing the Cincinnati Reds in 1987.

Rose, who couldn't be reached for comment, played for the Phillies from 1979 to 1983 and helped them reach two World Series and was a key part of their 1980 World Champion team.

Vincent said he thought it "unconceivable" that Rose would be reinstated in a way that would allow him to manage again.

The former commissioner said he also thought that despite the support of Hall of Famers such as former teammates Mike Schmidt and Joe Morgan, it would "be a very difficult thing" for Rose to get 75 percent of the votes needed from the 65 living Hall of Famers who make up the Veterans Committee.

"I know there are still guys who feel strongly against him," an anonymous Hall of Famer said in the New York Daily News story, "and I don't know if that would change even if Selig clears him." If the votes aren't there, "what's the point of reinstating him?" Vincent said.Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or [email protected]
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