Pete Rose, a former professional baseball player and Cincinnati Reds manager, made his case on Wednesday for reinstatement to the Major League Baseball’s eligible players list in the wake of the Houston Astros electronic cheating scandal. In a 19-page letter submitted to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Rose and his lawyers reportedly argued that the league’s reluctance to punish Astros players involved in the scandal provides an opportunity for Rose’s name to be removed from the ineligible list. Rose was banned from baseball in 1989 over accusations he gambled on baseball games while he was a Reds player and manager. “It has never been suggested, let alone established, that any of Mr. Rose’s actions influenced the outcome of any game or the performance of any player,” the letter reads. “Yet for the thirty-first year and counting, he continues to suffer a punishment vastly disproportionate to those who have done just that.” His lawyers wrote that Rose’s lifetime ban is “vastly disproportionate” to the punishment of players who took performance-enhancing drugs as well as Astros players involved in sign-stealing schemes in 2017.
Rose’s reinstatement would allow the all-time hits leader to be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame. Rose admitted to gambling on the Reds while managing the team in the 1980s. He applied for reinstatement in 2015, which Manfred rejected.