Pete Rose petitioned Major League Baseball on Wednesday to reconsider his lifetime ban from the sport, arguing the punishment was a disproportionate response given recent penalties handed down to the Houston Astros for their 2017 sign-stealing scheme.
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Rose, 78, has been on MLB’s ineligible list since 1989 for gambling on baseball games while serving as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. In his latest petition to MLB, attorneys for Rose noted that MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred opted not to punish any active player connected to the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal despite the negative impact the scheme had on the integrity of the game.
“There cannot be one set of rules for Mr. Rose and another for everyone else,” the petition says. “No objective standard or categorization of the rules violations committed by Mr. Rose can distinguish his violations from those that have incurred substantially less severe penalties from Major League Baseball.”
After years of denying he ever bet on baseball, Rose admitted in 2004 that he gambled on Reds games. Rose has unsuccessfully petitioned for reinstatement on multiple occasions, with the most recent attempt occurring in 2015.
Rose’s lifetime ban rendered him ineligible for entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame despite his status as MLB’s all-time hits leader.
An MLB investigation found last month that Astros management was aware of, and failed to stop, a scheme by players to use technology to steal signs from opposing players during their 2017 championship season. Astros players used video technology and a signaling system to relay signs, such as the upcoming pitch call, to batters.
MLB fined the Astros a record $5 million, stripped draft picks and gave one-year bans to manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for failing to end the scheme. Both individuals were fired within hours of the announcement.
The league also criticized the roles played by Carlos Beltran, an Astros player during the 2017 season, and Alex Cora, who served as the team’s bench coach. Cora faces severe discipline for his role in a separate scheme during his stint as manager of the Boston Red Sox, according to multiple reports.
Rose’s petition notes that MLB did not punish players who stole signs or used performance-enhancing drugs to the same extent that he was punished.
“Mr. Rose’s lifetime ban is clearly not proportional to the more lenient recent penalties for acts committed in flagrant violation of well-known rules of baseball,” the petition says.
ESPN was first to obtain the petition.