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Change in command brings Rose issue back to surface

Commissioner Manfred considering lifting ban, but past not on all-time hits leader's side

With a new Commissioner, baseball's all-time hit leader Pete Rose has a new hope that he can have his lifetime suspension from Major League Baseball lifted.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has said he will consider the request for reinstatement that Rose made earlier this year.

Do not, however, read too much into the fact Manfred has said he will allow Rose to be involved to some degree in the ceremonies surrounding the All-Star Game this July in Cincinnati, where Rose grew up and where Rose spent the bulk of his Major League career as a member of the Reds.

The decision on Rose and the All-Star Game is not without precedent.

Rose, who was given the lifetime suspension for gambling on baseball in 1989, was allowed by Manfred's predecessor, Bud Selig, to be a part of the All-Century Team celebration during the 1999 World Series in Atlanta. Selig also allowed Rose to be a part of the 2013 ceremony in Cincinnati as the Reds honored the World Series champion teams of 1975-76, the last time a National League team won back-to-back World Series.

Neither event, however, resulted in a softening in the stance on Rose's suspension.

With a change in command, only time will tell if that leads to a change in philosophy on Rose's situation.

Manfred has said he wants to thoroughly review the Dowd Report that found Rose did bet on baseball, and also wants to review the process that the late Bart Giamatti went through as Commissioner in deciding to hand down the lifetime ban.

"Part of my obligation as Commissioner is to deal with the request, and I will deal with it," is how Manfred has responded to questions about the status of Rose.

Rose had aggravated the situation because of his adamant denial of any involvement in gambling, only to "come clean"' in his book that was published in 2004 -- 15 years after the suspension was handled down.

What adds to the Rose dilemma is that because of his lifetime ban from the game, the Hall of Fame has decided he is not eligible to be considered for induction. He is not, however, ignored in Cooperstown.

Rose doesn't have a plaque, but his accomplishments in the game are displayed throughout the museum.

History has not been kind to players, coaches and owners who have been suspended for gambling-related issues.

The seriousness with which concerns about gambling was evident in the creation of the Office of the Commissioner in the aftermath of the Black Sox Scandal in 1919, and the hiring of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, a federal court judge, as the first Commissioner in 1920.

There have been 18 people given a lifetime ban for gambling-related incidents since Landis took office -- 15 by Landis -- and only three have had the ban lifted.

Dickey Kerr, who was 2-0 as a member of the White Sox pitching staff in the 1919 World Series, was given a lifetime suspension by Landis in 1921 for playing in exhibition games with suspended players. An arbitrator reinstated Kerr in 1925.

Kerr, who missed the 1922, '23 and '24 seasons, returned to the White Sox in 1925, but he retired after that season in which he made 12 appearances, two starts and was 0-1 with a 5.15 ERA. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were given lifetime suspensions by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn after being hired by Atlantic City casinos to greet customers and sign autographs. Peter Ueberroth, who succeeded Kuhn as Commissioner, lifted the suspensions in '85.

The suspensions of Mantle and Mays were the first suspensions for gambling-related issues since Phillies owner William Cox was suspended by Landis, and forced to sell the franchise in 1943 for betting on his team.

Rose's suspension is the only other action taken for gambling-related incidents by a Commissioner other than Landis.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for