(Reuters) - Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said on Monday he had received a formal request from Pete Rose asking that his lifetime ban for gambling on baseball games be lifted.
Manfred told reporters at the Dodgers’ spring training camp in Arizona that he would consider Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader’s request “on its merits.”
“I want to make sure I understand all of the details of the Dowd Report and Commissioner [Bart] Giamatti’s decision and the agreement that was ultimately reached,” Manfred said after a routine meeting with Dodgers players, according to mlb.com.
“I want to hear what Pete has to say, and I’ll make a decision once I’ve done that.”
Rose, 73, played from 1963 to 1986, amassing 4,256 hits, still the major league record.
Three years after he retired, Rose agreed to a permanent ban from baseball in 1989 amid accusations he gambled on games while playing and managing for the Cincinnati Reds.
Rose denied for nearly 15 years that he gambled on baseball, the game’s cardinal sin since 1919 when members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the World Series.
He finally admitted in his 2004 autobiography to making baseball wagers when he was manager of the Reds but insisted he never bet against his team.
Gaining reinstatement could be the first step to Rose reaching the Hall of Fame. In 1991, the Hall voted to ban players on the permanently ineligible list from induction.
“I don’t think people should read any disposition into what I‘m saying about this. I see it as a really simple thing. He’s made a request,” Manfred said.
“Part of my obligations under the major league constitution is to deal with those requests, and I’ll deal with it.”
Manfred, who has been making routine rounds of spring training camps in Florida and Arizona, said the subject of Rose’s standing has been among the more frequent questions he has fielded from players.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Steve Keating