Ohio legislators try push to get Pete Rose into Baseball Hall of Fame

Apr. 24—An area state representative is going to bat for Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose with a piece of legislation that aims to help Rose land a place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Today, the 83-year-old Rose is on a very short list of the greatest baseball players in MLB history not enshrined in the Hall of Fame, along with Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens, who faced voter opposition over steroid cases.

In a vacuum, Rose's accolades throughout his 24-year career would be more than enough to warrant a place, but he landed himself on the MLB's permanently ineligible list in 1989 after an investigation into his gambling activities.

Thus, the player with the most hits in MLB history, with three World Series wins under his belt, 17 MLB All star appearances (at five different positions), two Gold Gloves, three batting titles, an MVP award, and a Rookie of the Year honor, has no plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Two Reds fans are hoping to leverage their sway in the Ohio Statehouse to change that, including Rep. Tom Young, R-Washington Twp., who said he was in attendance in September 1985 when Rose got his 4,192nd hit and became the sport's all-time leader. Young has his ticket, poster and t-shirt from that fabled day framed.

Young, along with Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, recently introduced a proposal to get the State of Ohio to urge MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to remove Rose from the ineligibility list as soon as possible and urge the Baseball Writers' Association of America to include Rose on the next Hall of Fame ballot.

The idea for the resolution occurred to Young during the Reds' opening day, after his 12-year-old son asked why Rose hadn't made it into the Hall of Fame.

"I said, 'Well, there's some things that happen in people's lives that have nothing to do with what they do on the field,' " Young recalled. "And so I got a hold of Bill Seitz, who was Rose's attorney and knows him, and I said, 'We gotta get Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. Come on, the time's now.' "

For years, Rose denied having bet on Reds games while he was managing the team, but he later admitted it. In Young's opinion, Rose's gambling on MLB games, which was and remains against MLB rules, shouldn't disqualify him. Ohio has sports gambling embedded in its own constitution now, and the Reds and teams across the globe have embraced sports gambling by fans.

"That nullifies anything you can argue about if you want to bring up the past," Young said. "But what did he do on the field? And that's historic, that is historic, and we cannot erase that from history. And I don't want to."

Professional sports continue to forbid players and managers from betting on their own sport. Earlier this month, the NBA banned player Jontay Porter for life. According to the Associated Press, a league probe found he wagered on his team's games and disclosed confidential information to sports bettors.

In a separate issue, Rose has faced allegations of having sex with an underage female decades ago while he played for the Reds. According to the Associated Press, the woman said she was 14 or 15 when the relationship started. Rose acknowledged in 2017 that he did have a relationship with the woman, but he said it started when she was 16, which is the age of consent in Ohio.

It's hard to say whether the Statehouse's equivalent to a strongly worded letter in support of Rose would hold any sway with Manfred or the 385 or so baseball writers who vote on such matters, but Young said it's worth a shot.

"I like to make a difference, not only in policy here, but in my life, and I'll continue to work it if it passes," Young said. "I'm going to work it and Bill's going to work it, I've not had one person say to me, 'We shouldn't be doing this.' So, we're going to have hopefully a team effort — no pun intended — to get this home."

The resolution will soon move to the House Government Oversight Committee for further deliberation.


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Avery Kreemer can be reached at 614-981-1422, on X, via email, or you can drop him a comment/tip with the survey below.