07/29/09 8:30 AM EST
Daily News: Rose eligibility under review
All-time hit king would be considered for Hall if reinstated
By Bobbie Dittmeier / MLB.com
Citing sources, the Daily News said that Selig may now be more willing to lift Rose's lifetime suspension -- at least partially -- since Hank Aaron, the former all-time home run king and a close friend of the Commissioner, voiced support for Rose during an interview session on Saturday in Cooperstown, N.Y., where the Hall of Fame's Induction Ceremony was held on Sunday.
"I would certainly like to see him in," Aaron said of Rose. "He belongs in, really. His career is one that he needs to be right here in the middle of all of this."
Rose, the all-time career hits leader with 4,256, was given a lifetime suspension in 1989 for betting on baseball while he was manager of the Cincinnati Reds. He admitted to the wagers in 2002.
Sources told the Chicago Tribune on Monday that Selig was considering authorizing a statement contradicting the Daily News report. Reached by the Tribune in his Milwaukee office, Selig declined to comment, saying only that nothing had changed since he was asked about the Rose case earlier this month.
"I agreed to review this matter," Selig said in his annual Town Hall Chat in St. Louis on July 14. "I would remind you that Pete voluntarily accepted a lifetime suspension from Commissioner Bart Giamatti, and since I am the judge in this case, I think it's inappropriate for me to comment. He has a right to ask for it to be reviewed, if there's any new evidence, and we certainly have done that and will do that."
Selig's conditions for reinstatement would likely include the requirement that Rose make another public apology for gambling on baseball, and would also prohibit him from managing, a source told the Daily News.
The newspaper also reported that Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson, both former teammates of Rose, expressed their desire that Rose be reinstated during a meeting of the Hall of Fame's board of directors on Saturday. Morgan and Robinson both sit on that board.
"I think a lot of the guys feel that it's been 20 years now for Pete, and would lean toward leniency and time served," a Hall of Famer familiar with the situation told the Daily News. "If he had admitted it in the first place and apologized way back then, he'd probably be in the Hall by now."
If Rose's suspension were lifted, he would be eligible for Hall of Fame consideration by the Veterans Committee, since he was on the Ineligible List during the 15-year period during which he could have been on the Writers Ballot. The Veterans Committee consists of all of the living members of the Hall of Fame. Election requires 75 percent of the vote.
"I know there are still guys who feel strongly against him," one Hall of Famer told the Daily News, "and I don't know if that would change even if Selig clears him."
Bobbie Dittmeier is an editor/producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.