- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2004

Pete Rose has finally come clean — or so he says. In interviews and in his soon-to-be-released autobiography, Rose concedes that he was a big-time gambler while manager of the Cincinnati Reds, but that he never bet against his own team. Rose also said he regrets lying all those years.

Notwithstanding the fact that confessions are good for the soul, Rose is hoping his admission of guilt will be good toward his chances of being reinstated, so that his name can appear on the 2005 Hall of Fame ballot. We hope otherwise.

Major League Baseball first began its investigation of Rose’s gambling in 1989. Rose vehemently denied the allegations and said the bookies and runners accusing him were liars. In 1990, facing reams of evidence that he bet not only on other major sports, but also on baseball and his own ballclub, Rose agreed to the lifetime ban by signing an agreement that placed his name alongside others who were “permanently ineligible.” His denials about betting on baseball remained adamant until November 2002, when he met with Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. “Yes, sir, I did bet on baseball,” Rose says he told Selig.

The news in this latest segment of the Sorry Pete Saga is not that he bet on baseball or that he bet on the Reds — that news first surfaced as evidence during the league’s investigation. The news is that Peter Edward Rose is publicly mouthing the words himself for the first time because his book comes out on Thursday. Moreover, there is another sorry excuse for his public confessions: 2005 is the last chance for Rose’s name to appear on the writers’ Hall of Fame ballot.

Unlike the rapists, drug abusers and wife beaters with which major sports is grappling, Rose did not break the law. Nonetheless, he deserves the Hall of Shame instead of Hall of Fame for what he did — jeopardize the integrity of baseball in general and his team in particular. That is why, coupled with his own acceptance of the most severe punishment, his 14-year-old lie means that Pete Rose should be banned for life.

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