Why Pete Rose’s MLB Ban Isn’t Just Good For Us — It’s Good For Him

Baseball’s all-time hit leader is better off outside of baseball. 

Major League Baseball will not lift its permanent ban on Pete Rose for betting on games he played and managed, commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Monday, ending dreams of the game’s all-time hit leader re-entering the sport that made him famous.

It’s a sad day for the longtime Cincinnati Red, who lobbied Manfred for reinstatement after he took over for Bud Selig in January. But maybe it shouldn’t be. Yes, Rose will be barred from working in Major League Baseball, but he gets to keep the scarlet letter that allows him to make a living. And really, what kind of job is a team giving to a 74-year-old who’s been out of the game for a quarter century?

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It probably doesn’t feel this way to Rose and his fans, but remaining banned from baseball is a blessing. For starters, it allows him to keep making money off of the perceived injustice. Rose’ main money-making gig these days is signing autographs. In Vegas, where he does most of his scrawling, an autographed ball inscribed with 4256, his career hit total, goes for $99. A ball that says, “I’m sorry I bet on baseball” fetches $299. Rose has made as much as $1 million signing memorabilia and clearly his misdeeds have something to do with that. Lift the ban and suddenly his apology is no longer worth as much. 

Over the years, Rose has found other ways to cash in on his infamy. Just last year he made a commercial for Sketchers that played off his banishment from the Baseball Hall of Fame, which, it should be noted, is independent from MLB and only banned Rose for consistency.


But the biggest reason Rose should celebrate his on-going banishment from baseball is that it allows him to continue betting on baseball. That’s something the guy clearly doesn’t want to give up. We know this because Manfred cited his continued betting as the primary reason to keep Rose out of the game. 

“Mr. Rose has not presented credible evidence of a reconfigured life…by a rigorous, self-aware and sustain program of avoidance by him of all the circumstances that led to his permanent ineligibility in 1989,” Manfred said on MOnday. Translation: If this dude is sorry about betting on baseball, why’s he still betting on baseball? 

Keeping Rose out of baseball isn’t just good for the sport — it’s good for Rose, too. Rose clearly wanted back in baseball — his overtures to Manfred make that obvious — but he obviously wants to bet on baseball even more. If he had been reinstated, he would have had to give that up. And how much you wanna bet that he wouldn’t have? 

Photos by Christopher Pasatieri / Getty Images