The Reds are limited in what they can do to honor Pete Rose, but another pro baseball team in the area tried to pick up the slack Tuesday night.
The Florence Freedom (a member of the independent Frontier League in Northern Kentucky) let the Cincinnati native step into the batter’s box to start their game Tuesday night. According to reports, he took three pitches before being lifted for a pinch hitter. Rose was also scheduled to coach first base during the game and have the club retire his No. 14. The Freedom noted in a press release to announce the event it is the first professional baseball team to bestow such an honor on Rose.
What about the team Rose spent 19 of his 24 seasons playing for in the National League doing something similar? Well, he told reporters in Northern Kentucky he hasn’t lost hope of being reinstated, perhaps even by outgoing MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
"Everyone wants to talk about the (incoming) commissioner, but I haven’t given up on Bud," Rose said (via Cincinnati.com). "Bud has good things to say about me now. And he probably should, because I’m doing good things.
"I’ve taken responsibility for what I did, and he understands that and is willing to let me go on with my life."
With the 25-year anniversary of Rose’s banishment from baseball for gambling on games having passed recently, there has been a lot of talk about whether or not MLB’s all-time hits leader should finally be allowed back in the game. Selig has opted not to rule on the matter, leading writers such as Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com and even Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt to wonder if incoming Commissioner Rob Manfred might.
But perhaps he won’t have to. At least that’s what the Hit King himself thinks is still possible.