One of baseball’s all-time legends is making his case for the Hall of Fame with an appeal to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for forgiveness.
Former Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose — MLB’s all-time hits leader — asked Manfred to consider lifting his lifetime ban from baseball in a letter published Saturday.
The 1989 ban — issued because Rose gambled on games while he was the Reds’ manager — prevents him from eligibility in the Hall of Fame in spite of career numbers that would make him a sure bet for the honor otherwise.
Rose set the mark with 4,256 hits in a 24-year career with the Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos.
He expressed his contrition for his involvement in gambling as a manager in the letter.
“I have apologized many times, both for betting on baseball games while managing the Cincinnati Reds and then for denying that I did,” the 81-year-old “Charlie Hustle” wrote.
“I disappointed many Reds fans and baseball fans,” Rose said of his actions.
“Besides spending time with my kids and my partner, there’s nothing that made me happier than playing baseball in front of fans,” he wrote.
“That I let them down and brought shame to the sport we love is something I think about every single day.”
Rose only openly admitted that he gambled on games many years later, declining to come clean about an impropriety that rendered him a baseball persona non grata.
He described hardship in seeing his former teammates go on with their post-career baseball lives while he was barred from the game.
“I am asking for your forgiveness. Despite my many mistakes, I am so proud of what I accomplished as a baseball player — I am the Hit King and it is my dream to be considered for the Hall of Fame,” he wrote.
Manfred shot down an appeal for Rose’s reinstatement in 2015, saying in his announcement letter that his decision that the 17-time All-Star had “not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life” in his decision.
“Like all of us, I believe in accountability,” he emphasized in the letter.
“I am 81 years old and know that I have been held accountable and that I hold myself accountable.”
“I write now to ask for another chance.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.