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Major League Baseball Upholds Ban On Pete Rose

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Peter Rose has been banned from baseball since 1989. That's not changing. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has announced he will not reinstate Rose, a Hall of Fame-worthy player who became a pariah for betting on the game. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Pete Rose was put on the permanently ineligible list in 1989 with a roadmap back into the game. The late Bart Giamatti, baseball commissioner at the time, said Rose had to reconfigure his life for there to be possible reinstatement. Twenty-six years later, current commissioner Rob Manfred says Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life. Rose hasn't honestly accepted his wrongdoing, gambling on baseball as a manager and a player in the late 1980s. And, said the commissioner, Rose acknowledges still betting on horseracing and professional sports, including baseball. Manfred, who met with Rose in September, said allowing Rose back in to work in the game presents an unacceptable risk to the integrity of the game. Longtime sportswriter Kostya Kennedy wrote the 2014 book "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma."

KOSTYA KENNEDY: The key point was - for me was Rob saying that there was a risk for further gambling, basically. You know, that there was a risk for further misbehavior.

GOLDMAN: Kennedy, and many others who've followed the Rose story for a quarter-century, is not surprised by today's announcement. John Dowd certainly isn't. He's the attorney who wrote the comprehensive report that led to Rose's banishment in 1989. Dowd says today is a great day in the game.

JOHN DOWD: I'm very, very happy and very proud of the commissioner of baseball for protecting the game. In this day and age, protecting the integrity of anything is a big deal.

GOLDMAN: Rose also has been banned from baseball's Hall of Fame. The Hall voted in 1991 to keep players on the permanently ineligible list out. Essentially, says Kostya Kennedy, it was a ruling against Rose. Kennedy says the Hall could change the rule and allow Rose to be voted on, but Kennedy says that probably won't happen now, which he says is what's ultimately unsettling about the case. The 74-year-old Rose is the all-time career hits leader, a record baseball experts consider untouchable. Rose had no immediate comments after today's announcement. A representative told NPR Rose plans to hold a press conference tomorrow in Las Vegas, where Rose lives. Tom Goldman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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