“The sad end to a sorry episode”
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK •
AUGUST 24, 1989
With those words Major League Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti announced on this date in 1989 the lifetime ban from baseball of Pete Rose for gambling. An investigation showed Rose bet on many sporting events, but what forced the hand of Giamatti was evidence that Rose bet on baseball, including the team he managed, the Cincinnati Reds.
Giamatti described Rose’s gambling as the most serious allegation against the integrity of baseball since the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
Despite Giamatti’s announcement, and the fact that Rose signed a document the night before accepting the ban, Rose insisted that he had not bet on baseball. He stuck to that position, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, until 2004 when Rose finally came clean (and was promoting a book), but said he never gambled against his team.
Rose certainly had the statistics to get into the Hall of Fame. He’s the all-time major league hits leader. He won three batting titles, three World Series rings, was Rookie of the Year, MVP and appeared in 17 All-star games. But the odds of a former manager (and former player) who bet on baseball, including his own team, getting into the Hall of Fame are a long shot.