Pete Rose’s Hall of Fame dream has been crushed once and for all, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
In a decision not made public until Wednesday, Rose’s request for the Hall of Fame to reconsider his case and allow him to stand for election was denied in December, which translates to the Hall closing its door on MLB’s all-time hit king permanently.
Rose’s request to the Hall of Fame came on the heels of MLB commissioner Rob Manfred rejecting his request to lift his lifetime ban for betting on baseball in the 1980s.
While Manfred made it clear in his 2015 decision that Rose would not be allowed to work in any capacity again within MLB, his Hall of Fame eligibility was considered independent of his ban. That offered some hope that the Hall of Fame’s board of directors might reconsider the case. Instead, they only reaffirmed their position that Rose will never be on the Hall of Fame ballot.
“You certainly can’t tell the history of baseball without including Pete Rose,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said of the many Rose artifacts that are present within the historic building. But he concluded, “We feel it would be incongruous to be putting someone on a ballot that is otherwise banned from the game.”
Those words serve as a brick wall, and according to Shaikin could change the tone of the Cincinnati Reds’ ceremony to dedicate a bronze statue to Rose before Saturday’s game at the Great American Ballpark.
“This could be a big red sunset,” Shaikin writes. “A farewell party for one of the greatest characters baseball has known.”
We know Rose isn’t going away anytime soon. He’ll remain in the spotlight as an analyst for Fox Sports and he’ll gladly grab any other spotlight opportunities that come his way. But in terms of milestones and commemorations of his remarkable career, there really aren’t any that are left.
His number has already been retired in Cincinnati. His number has already been retired in Philadelphia, too, though in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning. If the Hall of Fame is officially and completely off the table, then Saturday in Cincinnati and his Wall of Fame induction in Philadelphia later this summer might be his last opportunities to truly soak in the accolades of his career.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 15, 2017
Of course, Rose will always be treated as a king in his hometown of Cincinnati.
“If he lived to be 1,000, he would be as popular on his 1,000th birthday as he was when he played,” Hall of Fame announcer Marty Brennaman, said of the city’s relationship with Rose. “It’s a phenomenon unto itself. He was a part of arguably one of the top two or three teams in the history of baseball, and the fact is that he was born and raised in that town.”
Needless to say Rose’s legacy is safe in his hometown. It’s also been cemented in the baseball history books. But it appears that legacy will forever be missing the piece that Rose cherished most.
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