Ohio lawmakers attempt to lift Rose’s lifetime ban

COLUMBUS — Ohio lawmakers are again going to bat for Pete Rose, introducing a new resolution urging Major League Baseball to lift his lifetime ban for gambling and induct him into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

House Concurrent Resolution 15, referred to an Ohio House committee on Tuesday, comes 35 years after Rose, 83, agreed to the lifetime ban for betting on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds.

The resolution wouldn’t guarantee Rose’s reinstatement even if it passes the Ohio legislature. Rather, it urges MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to lift that ban, and it asks the Baseball Writers Association of America (which elects retired players to the Hall of Fame) and the Hall of Fame to include Rose’s name on the Hall of Fame ballot.

After years of denials, Rose admitted in his 2004 autobiography that he gambled on baseball, though never against his team. Rose has repeatedly petitioned the commissioner’s office to be reinstated, but has been turned down every time.

Republican state Rep. Tom Young, a Dayton-area Republican co-sponsoring the resolution, said in an interview that he hasn’t talked with Rose about his proposed resolution. But, Young added, more importantly to him, he has talked about it to his 12-year-old son, who plays baseball.

“We should be praising the contribution (Rose) made to baseball,” said Young, who said he was in the stands of Riverfront Stadium in September 1985, when Rose set the major-league record for most career hits.

“Every kid needs to know what Pete Rose did,” Young said.

The bill’s other main co-sponsor, Ohio House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz, said in an interview Tuesday that it’s “a little hypocritical” for Major League Baseball to keep Rose out of the Hall of Fame for gambling when MLB teams – including the Reds and Cleveland Guardians – are “heavily invested in sports betting.”

“So, time to move it along,” said Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, of Rose’s reinstatement.

The Reds, like the Guardians and several other MLB teams, have set up sports betting locations in their respective ballparks that allows people to bet on games.

Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer has reached out to a Reds spokesman for comment.

Last year, Manfred told the Associated Press that he has no plans to alter Rose’s lifetime ban and that MLB’s sports-betting activities don’t affect that decision.

“It’s just the rules are different for players,” Manfred told the AP. “It’s part of the responsibility that comes with the privilege of being a major league player.”

While professional sports leagues have embraced gambling among their fans, they’ve generally taken a different tact with players and others involved with their organizations. Several players have been suspended by the National Football League or released by their teams for gambling — both on NFL and non-NFL games. The National Basketball Association recently gave a lifetime ban for a player who gambled on games he played in. And another gambling scandal has struck baseball as the interpreter for Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers is facing allegations that he stole millions from Ohtani to gamble on sports.

Seitz and some other lawmakers previously tried to pass a similar resolution in 2015 on Rose’s behalf, but it was shelved after media reports showed Rose also bet on baseball as a player, contradicting Rose’s previous statements that he only placed bets while managing the Reds.