There was a time when betting on baseball was the Cardinal Sin. From the early days of the game, back before the major leagues were a dream, gambling was a black mark. Thomas Devyr, Ed Duffy, and William Wansley of the New York Mutuals were exiled in 1865, although all three were eventually reinstated. The Chicago Black Sox, Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose, and others were all banished from the game for their wagers. Even Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were kicked out for the “crime” of being hired by casinos to greet guests and sign autographs.
A lot has changed since those days. Now, Major League Baseball has cozied up to the casinos and sports betting, to the point where sports books are opening up at the ballpark and games are being broadcast on stations owned by a casino. The Cardinal Sin is still there in name, but it is a truly hypocritical stance to be taking.
Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose trying his luck one more time
This brings the conversation back to Rose. He had been placed on the MLB ineligible list as part of a mutual agreement between he and then-Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti. Part of the agreement included the provision that Rose could apply for reinstatement annually. Unfortunately, Giamatti passed away from a heart attack just a few days later, leaving his ultimate plans for Rose’s future unknown.
Rose has tried to be reinstated several times. He even admitted his guilt when it came to betting on baseball, albeit for his own profit and book sales, as part of an attempt to return to the game’s good graces. To this point, his attempts have fallen upon deaf ears.
But Rose is not giving up. He is once again trying for reinstatement, sending a letter to current commissioner Rob Manfred citing three reasons why he should be allowed back into the game: “First, because at my age I want to be 100% sure that you understand how much I mean it when I say that I’m sorry. Second, to ask for your forgiveness. And third, because I still think every day about what it would mean to be considered for the Hall of Fame.”
In a different climate, Rose would have zero chance at coming back. Other commissioners, including Manfred, have refused to overturn the ban, saying that there is no way of knowing what Giamatti would have done had he not passed. Add in Rose’s abhorrent personal life, from allegations of sexual relations with a minor, tax evasion, and behavior when he was honored by the Phillies recently, and his reinstatement faces long odds.
Rose is also not about to give up his own interest in gambling. He is set to place the first legal wager at the Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati in 2023, something else that may not work in his favor. If Rose is truly sorry for his actions, he would either stay as far away from the gambling window as possible or get help for his compulsions.
But it all comes back to the relationship between the league and sports gambling. To keep furthering this relationship while refusing to allow Rose, or the likes of Shoeless Joe Jackson, back into the game is astonishingly hypocritical. However, considering Manfred’s track record, no one should be surprised.
Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose is once again trying to be reinstated in Major League Baseball. At this point, he may as well take the chance.