CINCINNATI – Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred denounced Pete Rose Monday in explaining why he decided not to reinstate the banned Hit King.
In a three-page statement, Manfred said Rose did not man up to new accusations that arose from baseball betting slips obtained by ESPN last summer, or about his current, continued gambling. On top of that, Manfred said, Rose did not heed former Commissioner Bart Giamatti's directive to "reconfigure his life" after Giamatti banned Rose in 1989 for betting on the Reds.
Rose is withholding comment until a Tuesday news conference, his attorney, Ray Genco, said in an email to WCPO.
The commissioner said Rose was not forthcoming during their September meeting, saying he could not recall details about betting while still a player and only reluctantly admitted that he continues to bet legally on baseball and other sports. Manfred also said Rose had not taken even the first step in reconfiguring his life - stopping his gambling, disassociating himself from gamblers and seeking treatment.
Ultimately, Manfred said, it's the commissioner's duty to protect the integrity of the game and he concluded he couldn't trust Rose enough to bring him back.
"In short, Mr. Rose has not presented evidence of a reconfigured life either by an honest acceptance by him of his wrongdoing, so clearly established by 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," Manfred said.
"Absent such credible evidence, allowing him to work in the game presents an unaccepted risk of a future violation of Rule 21 by him, and thus to the integrity of our sport. I, therefore, must reject Mr. Rose's application for reinstatement."
Rose and his family were "disappointed" with Manfred's decision, Genco said, and he disputed Manfred's claim that Rose hadn't done what Giamatti told him to do.
"While we may have failed at our task of presenting all the facts to the Commissioner demonstrating how Pete has grown and changed over the past three decades, Pete indeed has meaningfully reconfigured his life - the standard laid out by as Commissioner Giamatti," Genco said in a statement.
"Pete’s fall from grace is without parallel. He recognizes that it was also of his own making. As such, Pete seeks to be judged not simply by the mistakes of his past - but also by the the work he has done over the last 3 decades in taking responsibility for his actions - constantly working to remain disciplined, compassionate and grateful."
Reds owner Bob Castellini said he respected Manfred's decision. "We are grateful for his diligence and the amount of time he spent on the matter," Castellini said.
Manfred's decision means Rose, 74, will probably never live to see his plaque in Baseball's Hall of Fame. While baseball's ban originally meant Rose could not work in the sport, Giamatti's successor, Fay Vincent, convinced the Hall of Fame board in 1991 to add more punishment by barring Rose and others on the permanently ineligible list from the Hall.
At 74, Rose acknowledged that he is too old to work in baseball. But he really wanted to get his name on the Hall of Fame ballot.
In his statement, Manfred repeated that he considers the issues of Rose's reinstatement and his ban from the Hall of Fame to be separate but, in fact, they are not as long as the Hall of Fame ban keeps Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson and others off the ballot.
Giamatti banned Rose, baseball's all-time hit leader with 4,256, on Aug. 24, 1989 after a baseball investigation by John Dowd, a noted former federal investigator, determined that Rose bet on Reds games and others between 1985 and 1987. Rose never bet on the Reds to lose, only to win, his local bookie, Ron Peters of Franklin, Ohio, told Dowd and his investigators. But that didn't make any difference, Manfred said. Rose bet $2,000 most days, Peters said.
Baseball's Rule 21 prohibits anyone working in baseball from betting on games with the penalty of a one-year suspension. Rule 21(c) says anyone who bets on his own team is banned permanently. Rose denied betting on the Reds for 15 years until he admitted it in his autobiography in 2004.
Rose had lied about betting on baseball to four commissioners before Manfred, and Manfred had said before their meeting that he expected Rose to be totally honest and open with him.
"Even more troubling, in our interview, Rose initially denied betting on baseball currently and only later in the interview did he 'clarify' his response to admit such betting," Manfred said.
The ESPN betting slips, which federal investigators seized from a Rose friend and business associate, Mike Bertolini, were especially damning since they purported to show Rose's bets from 1985, when he was playing for the Reds. Rose had always contended that he didn't bet on baseball until he stopped playing and became a full-time manager in 1986.
"During our meeting, Mr. Rose told me that he bet extensively on Cincinnati Reds games in 1987," Manfred said. "He could not, however, remember many facts established by the Dowd Report that demonstrate conclusively his involvement in betting on baseball in 1985 and 1986, when he was an active player. He made assertions concerning his betting habits that were directly contradicted by documentary evidence (the Bertolini Notebook). And significantly, he told me that currently he bets recreationally and legally on sports, including baseball.
"It is not clear to me that Mr. Rose has a grasp of his violations of Rule 21," Manfred said.
Manfred said he dismissed a polygraph test and a psychiatrist's report that Rose submitted in his petition for reinstatement, Manfred said Rose apparently submitted the polygraph to show he had told the truth about his baseball bets, but because of technical reasons, the report concluded "no opinion" on it.
Manfred declined to say what was in the psychiatrist's report, written by a UCLA expert in gambling and addiction. But Manfred said he gave it "little weight" because it was inconsistent with what Rose told him.
That sounds as if the report might have said Rose is a gambling addict, because Rose has always rejected that notion, even during the news conference on the day Giamatti banned him.
Manfred also said Rose has never "seriously sought treatment" for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Behavior, conditions he said in his 2004 book had afflicted him.
In the final analysis, Manfred said he doubted Rose's truthfulness and sincerity.
"Mr. Rose's public and private comments, including his initial admission in 2004, provide me with little confidence that he has a mature understanding of his wrongful conduct, that he has accepted responsibility for it, or that he understands the damage he has caused," the commissioner said.
"Most important, whatever else a 'reconfigured life' may include, in this case it must begin with a complete rejection of the practices and habits that comprised his violations of Rule 21."
Manfred said Rose, a Cincinnati hometown hero, can continue to participate in "ceremonial activities that pose no threat to the integrity of the game" with the commissioner's permission. Rose was allowed on the field at the All-Star Game here last summer during a ceremony recognizing him as one of Reds fans' "Franchise Four" favorite players. Manfred said his decision does not cover third parties, so Rose apparently could continue to work as studio analyst for FOX Sports.
Rose applied for reinstatement in September 1997 and met with Commissioner Bud Selig in November 2002, but Selig never ruled on Rose's application. Rose didn't apply again until Selig retired last January and Manfred took over.
Unlike Selig, Manfred seemed committed to giving Rose a fair shake and Manfred said he commissioned a staff review of the Dowd Report. Manfred and Rose had never met until the All-Star Game last July - in the green room under the stands at Great American Ball Park where Rose waited for the on-field ceremony. On Sept. 24, Manfred and Rose met in the commissioner's New York office, and Rose and his attorney made their pitch for reinstatement.
But Rose apparently could not sway Manfred with his answers - not about reconfiguring his life, not about the ESPN betting slips and not about the Dowd Report.
The 285-page Dowd Report, released on June 26, 1989, contained volumes of damning evidence that Rose bet on baseball while a Reds player and manager. It included:
> Testimony from nine Rose associates that Rose bet on baseball and the Reds;
Some 2,500 pages of documents and exhibits including bookie Peters' betting records from 1987, three purported betting slips that bet runner Paul Janszen said he stole from Rose's house (and handwriting analysis that baseball said proved that Rose had written them); checks Rose allegedly used to pay gambling debts, and telephone records that showed many short calls minutes apart between Rose and Janszen and Janszen and Peters. The report said that indicated gambling activity.