Ohio still has innings left in 2020 to legalize sports wagering, though it is far from a certainty it will happen. In the meantime, the Ohio Senate is once again formally urging Major League Baseball to make former Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose eligible for Cooperstown.
On Tuesday, a Senate Concurrent Resolution for Rose was referred to the General Government and Agency Review Committee. A hearing has not yet been held. The purpose of the two-page SCR is to “urge the commissioner of Major League Baseball to remove Peter Edward ‘Pete’ Rose from Major League Baseball’s permanently ineligible list as soon as possible, and to urge the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and the National Baseball Hall of Fame to include Rose on the Hall of Fame ballot.”
It’s not a proposed law, so there is nothing the state of Ohio can do here other than put public pressure on MLB to give Rose a shot at the Hall of Fame. As nearly every sports fan already knows, Rose was banned from the game for life in 1989 for gambling on baseball.
The proliferation of legal sports wagering across the U.S. has rejuvenated chatter about letting Rose in. The league has embraced legal and regulated gambling since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a 1992 federal ban in mid-2018. It’s worth noting that Rose betting on MLB games while involved with the league would not be allowed today either, even if he did so through a legal operator.
There’s nothing stopping Rose from wagering legally today, and it is possible that he could be tapped to place a ceremonial first sports wager at a sportsbook at the Hard Rock Casino in Cincinnati, though nothing has been publicly disclosed by the casino or Rose regarding that.
The SCR, sponsored by six state senators in Ohio, isn’t the first of its kind. In 2015, the Ohio Senate also had a SCR to urge MLB to make Rose eligible for the Hall of Fame. In December of 2015, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred denied Rose’s application for reinstatement filed earlier that year. There is no indication that Rose personally has sought reinstatement this year.
The MLB All-Star Game was also in Cincinnati that year, shining an unfortunate spotlight on a baseball town whose legendary player remains painfully ineligible for the Hall of Fame. In addition to sports wagering, other factors could be motivating another push by the Ohio Senate.
The 2020 SCR for Rose comes approximately one month after his former teammate, Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan, passed away at 77. The Ohio Senate’s efforts right now also come as MLB has raised some eyebrows with the way it handled a recent cheating scandal. Many have said Rose remains the victim of a double standard.
Alex Cora back as Red Sox manager. Pete Rose definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame
— Paige Spiranac (@PaigeSpiranac) November 6, 2020