Earlier this week, baseball’s hit king Pete Rose asked once again to be reinstated by Major League Baseball and now his campaign has the support of one of the most powerful men in the world — President Donald Trump.
In a coming together of the most polarizing person in politics and the most polarizing person in baseball, Trump sent out his endorsement of Rose via Twitter on Saturday afternoon.
Pete Rose played Major League Baseball for 24 seasons, from 1963-1986, and had more hits, 4,256, than any other player (by a wide margin). He gambled, but only on his own team winning, and paid a decades long price. GET PETE ROSE INTO THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME. It’s Time!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2020
Trump, of course, doesn’t have a Hall of Fame vote, but his Hall of Fame stamp of approval does bring up part of the nuance in the Rose debate.
Even if Rose were to be reinstated by MLB — which seems like a longshot — he wouldn’t automatically be sent into Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame would have to un-ban him too, and then allow him to be voted on. Either the Baseball Writers Association of America would vote on Rose like it does other players, or he’d go on a veterans committee ballot.
You think the Hall of Fame vote is contentious when it involves Barry Bonds and Roger Clements, just imagine if Pete Rose got on a ballot.
Rose’s latest appeal to MLB is connected to the Houston Astros cheating scandal. His legal team is arguing that if Alex Cora, A.J. Hinch, Jeff Luhnow and others connected to the scandal aren’t going to be banned from baseball, then Rose’s ban is unfair. It’s comparing apples to oranges a bit because betting on baseball and cheating aren’t the same thing, but it’s nonetheless a debate worth having if you’re a baseball fan.
As for Trump, this is hardly the first time he’s shown his support for Rose. But it is the first time he’s tweeted about Rose as President of the United States. In 2015, Trump expressed his displeasure with MLB for denying another of Rose’s requests for reinstatement.
Can't believe Major League Baseball just rejected @PeteRose_14 for the Hall of Fame. He's paid the price. So ridiculous - let him in!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2015
In 2016, in the lead up to the election, Trump posted a signed Rose baseball reading, “Mr. Trump, please make America Great Again.”
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