With nearly two dozen Hall of Famers sitting beside him, Bud Selig said Tuesday that Pete Rose can pretty much forget about reinstatement to baseball as long as he's commissioner.
The occasion was the launch of voting for baseball's All-Century team. While Rose is among the 100 players on the ballot, he wasn't invited to the news conference before Tuesday night's All-Star game and won't be asked to any ceremonies if he's among the winners.
"I don't think there's anything I would do to change what Bart Giamatti did," Selig said, referring to the former commissioner who kicked Rose out of baseball.
Because of the lifetime ban he signed with Giamatti in August 1989, Rose is ineligible for the Hall of Fame.
Rose applied for reinstatement in September 1997, but Selig hasn't announced a decision. From his statements Tuesday, it's clear the only two options Selig is considering are rejection or never acting on the petition.
"Without question, Pete Rose in one of the top players in the century," Hall of Famer third baseman Mike Schmidt said.
That said, Schmidt agreed with those who claim Rose hasn't reconfigured his life in the past decade. While no formal finding was made, Giamatti said he was convinced Rose bet on the Cincinnati Reds while he was managing the team.
"I truly believe the ball's in Pete's hands," Schmidt said. "Pete needs to take some serious steps in his life."
Of the 100 players on the ballot, 85 are in the Hall of Fame. The exceptions include eight active players: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, Greg Maddux, Mark McGwire and Cal Ripken. Also not in the Hall are recent retirees Dennis Eckersley, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray and Ozzie Smith.
The only other three are Carlton Fisk, who fell 43 votes short this year; Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was bypassed by the baseball writers and the veterans committee before the prohibition against banned players took effect in 1991; and Rose.
Jackson was among eight Chicago White Sox players banned for throwing the 1919 World Series, and there's been a campaign to reinstate him, too. Selig said he expects to make a decision on Jackson's case later this year.
Both Rose and Jackson were featured in a lengthy video presentation during the new conference.
"They're two players who made an impact on the field," Selig said.
|Pete Rose applied for reinstatement in September of 1997.(AP)|
Twenty-nine of the 54 living players on the ballot attended th news conference, including 22 Hall of Famers, among them Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Stan Musial.
Fans can vote for two players at each infield position, two catchers, nine outfielders and six pitchers, and a committee can select up to five additional players to make up for any imbalance slighting the early part of the century, bringing the total to 30.
Much like All-Star balloting, fans can vote at ballparks and on the Internet. The promotion is sponsored by MasterCard International, which will put ballots in Sports Illustrated, TV Guide and Kmart stores.
Balloting runs through Sept. 10 and the team will be announced before Game 1 of the World Series. A special panel selected by baseball will pick and All-Century starting lineup from the team.
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