Time running out for Pete Rose
He'd have to be reinstated by November and that's unlikely to happen.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) -- With his Cincinnati Reds helmet flying off as he dives headfirst into home plate, Pete Rose is practically jumping out of the eye-catching display inside the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jumping out of the hall itself.
"It's a shame," said Dale Petroskey, president of the Hall of Fame. "Great player, and we all loved Pete as a player. But there's a rule in baseball that says if you bet on the game in uniform, you can't be part of the game. I don't think anybody's happy about that, but it is what it is."
During a 24-year career that included stints with the Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos, Rose accumulated a record 4,256 hits. He was a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame after he retired in 1986. Now, he's another "Shoeless" Joe -- banned from baseball for life.
And because of a rule instituted in 1991 by the board of directors of the Hall of Fame, the ban keeps Rose off the Hall of Fame ballot. He applied for reinstatement in 1997, but baseball commissioner Bud Selig is the only one who can rule on that. He hasn't, and time is running out.
Final year of eligibility
Rose must be reinstated by late November to appear on the Baseball Writers' Association of America 2006 ballot, the final year he would be eligible.
"That's hard to talk about," 87-year-old Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr said. "Pete's a real fine person. He just loves baseball, but he did some things that weren't right. He did break the rules, and so he is going to have to suffer.
"It's kind of accepted now, I think," he said. "I don't think anything's going to be done."
Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from the sport 16 years ago following a gambling probe. Baseball investigator John Dowd detailed 412 baseball wagers in 1987 when Rose managed the Reds, including 52 on Cincinnati to win. Evidence included betting slips alleged to be in Rose's handwriting, and phone and bank records.
Second book sealed fate
Now 64 with thinning hair and a chest that's much stouter than when he bowled over Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse at home plate to win the 1970 All-Star Game, Rose may have sealed his own fate with his second autobiography.
It was released the same week the Hall of Fame announced its 2004 inductees -- Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley -- and only stoked resentment. After denying it for 14 years, Rose admitted in "My Prison Without Bars" that he bet on games involving the Reds while he was manager.
"With Pete's book and admitting all the things that a lot of people didn't know he had done -- they really believed he hadn't bet on baseball -- I think that kind of upset a lot of people that were rooting hard for Pete," Phillies Hall of Famer Robin Roberts said. "The fact that he did bet on it, and what he was accused of he did, didn't contribute much to his possibility of getting voted in."
Veterans Committee next
If Rose is not on the 2006 ballot, he would become eligible for consideration by the Veterans Committee, which includes all living Hall of Famers.
"He's going to flip over to the Veterans Committee next year," said Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, who led the Baltimore Orioles past Rose and the Reds in the 1970 World Series. "It's just too bad things couldn't have happened early when he was banned from the game, coming clean. It would be a whole different story."
A fan favorite nicknamed "Charlie Hustle" because of his hellbent style of play, Rose made 17 All-Star teams, was National League rookie of the year in 1963, MVP in 1973 and MVP of the 1975 World Series. He led the NL in hitting three times and played on three World Series champions -- two with the Reds and one with the Phillies.
Hasn't received much support
Even if he is reinstated, however, Rose might not get the 75 percent of votes needed for election to the Hall of Fame. He has been written in on only 239 of 6,687 ballots (3.6 percent) over 14 years.
The BBWAA remains steadfast that Rose at least should have the chance.
"When [former commissioner] Bart Giamatti handed down the decision, he made it clear it would be up to the writers if Rose should go in," BBWAA president T.R. Sullivan said. "My sense is it would be difficult for Rose to get 75 percent of the vote, having talked to people over the years."