Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose had already been banned for life from Major League Baseball due to his gambling issues. On this day in 1991, that ban extended to the Hall of Fame.
The MLB Hall of Fame found themselves in a tough situation heading into 1991. Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose, the all time hits leader, was due to appear on the ballot. In theory, and under normal circumstances, Rose would be an easy inclusion for the Hall. However, his case was not the normal Hall of Fame debate.
Instead, Rose had been banned for life from the game, as he had placed wagers on the Reds while managing the club. This led to the Hall of Fame having to make a decision as to how to handle his candidacy, as it is a separate entity from the league itself.
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On this day in 1991, the twelve members of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors made their decision. Rose, despite his impressive career, would be banned from appearing on the ballot since he was on the ineligible list. That would change if Rose was to be reinstated by the Commissioner’s Office prior to December 2005, otherwise he would no longer be eligible to be voted in.
This was a controversial decision from the moment it was announced. Despite the Board of Directors unanimously voting to keep Rose off the ballot, quite a few writers disagreed with that stance. In fact, in the 1992 vote, which would have been his first year on the ballot, Rose received 41 write in votes. These votes were thrown out, but the writers were still able to make a statement.
While he remains ineligible, Rose still receives the occasional write in vote. He earned one during this past election, although he would have been off the ballot in 2005 after exhausting his 15 years of eligibility.
Rose, however, has not given up his quest to be a part of the Hall of Fame. In September 2016, he applied to be on the ballot, arguing that the rule applies to players who were banned starting in 1991. As Rose had been banned in 1989, his argument is based on how he should be exempt from this ruling.
Right now, it does not appear as though Pete Rose will be appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot any time soon. Nonetheless, that will not stop the Cincinnati Reds legend from trying to reverse a decision made on this day in 1991.