Pete Rose knows a thing or two about betting on baseball. The Cincinnati Reds icon and Major League Baseball‘s all-time hit king was banished for life from the sport in 1989 after an investigation determined that he bet on games in which he managed.
As Ohio moves ever closer to legalizing sports betting in Ohio, what was once baseball’s ultimate crime will soon be commonplace inside the ballpark of Rose’s hometown. Major League Baseball and other major U.S. sports now support and are part of legalized sports betting.
Rose was recently asked for his thoughts on MaximBet Sportsbook signing Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon to an endorsement deal. Blackmon is the first active Major League Baseball player to endorse a sportsbook.
“Baseball is pretty much in bed with gambling now,” Rose told USA TODAY sports.
Rose continued: “Baseball has come to realize there’s a lot of money in the gambling industry, and they can benefit by getting their fair share.”
MLB Sports Betting and Ambassadors
Legalizing sports betting in the U.S. has been a long road, and the country’s four major sports leagues — the National Football League, National Basketball League, National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball — have been heavily involved.
Once legalized sports betting launches in Ohio, bettors will be able to place wagers inside every professional sports stadium, including:
- Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati Reds)
- Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals)
- TQL Stadium (FC Cincinnati)
- FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland Browns)
- Progressive Field (Cleveland Guardians)
- Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Nationwide Arena (Columbus Blue Jackets)
Placing a bet just steps away from where Joey Votto stands at the plate seemed inconceivable even a decade or so ago. Soon, with the launch of online sportsbooks and betting apps in Ohio, sports betting will be a major part of the professional baseball viewing experience.
Professional franchises are currently partnering with sports betting proprietors, and sports betting operators are already marketing their offerings.
That’s where Blackmon comes in. In his BetMaxim ambassador role, Blackmon will help boost the sportsbook’s image in marketing campaigns, promotions, on social media, at fan events, and more.
“As I learned more about MaximBet, I knew this absolutely was the right brand for me,” Blackmon said in a statement. “MaximBet has really attached itself to the local Colorado community, and I cannot wait to have some fun with MaximBet, and surprising fans with incredible ‘money can’t buy’ experiences all season.”
Other sportsbooks have sought high-profile ambassadors as well. Actor and comedian JB Smoove has been a high-profile ambassador for Caesars Sportsbook. The Manning family, including retired NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli, also have signed on with Caesars as ambassadors.
Major League Baseball players are allowed to endorse gambling outlets but still are not allowed to bet on games.
That’s frustrating for Rose, who says he was 30 years too early to be a part of the legalized betting era. Rose admits that he messed up.
“Look, I [expletive] up,” Rose told USA TODAY sports. “I messed up when I did what I did, ok? I can’t bring it back.
“However, I would wish baseball would just give me an opportunity to be on the [Hall of Fame] ballot. Not, put me in, let the writers decide. I’ve been suspended since ’89, 33 years ago. That’s a long time. And to be honest with you, it probably cost me $100 million.
“I’m not complaining, I’m just saying I’ve been punished pretty severely.”
Not in dispute: Pete Rose’s records
In 1985, Rose broke Ty Cobb‘s all-time record of 4,191 hits. The “Hit King” finished his Major League Baseball career with 4,256 hits, a record that is unlikely to be broken as baseball continues to move toward a more power-hitting focus.
Rose played a total of 26 seasons, winning three World Series titles, a National League MVP award, and two gold gloves. He also made 17 All–Star game appearances and won the Rookie of the Year award in 1963.
Rose, who turned 81 on April 14, currently holds the following career records:
- Hits: 4,256
- Games played: 3,562
- At-bats: 14,053
- Singles: 3,315
- Most total bases by a switch hitter: 5,752
- Only major leaguer to play 500 games at five positions
Rose was also MLB’s most recent player–manager, as he managed the Cincinnati Reds from 1984-1986 while remaining on the roster.
Rose was a stalwart of one of MLB’s all-time great teams, the Big Red Machine of the 1970s. The Reds won back-to-back titles in 1975-76. Rose had stints with the Philadelphia Phillies (1979-1983), winning a World Series Title there in 1980, and the Montreal Expos in 1984. He returned to manage and play for the Reds from 1984-86.
Controversy and Lifetime Ban
Rose’s well–known controversy happened in August of 1989, his final year managing the Reds.
After an MLB investigation determined that Rose bet on baseball games, including his own team while he played for and managed the Reds, then-MLB commissioner Bartlett Giamatti banned Rose from baseball.
At the time, Rose agreed to the settlement but would deny for years that he bet on baseball.
Two years after his ban, the Baseball Hall of Fame voted to permanently ban players on the “permanently ineligible” list.
Despite several appeals to the Hall of Fame and to multiple baseball commissioners, Rose remains on the list today.
In 2004, Rose finally admitted to betting on baseball, including on the Reds, while he played and managed the team. He detailed this period of his life in a book titled, “My Prison Without Bars.”
Rose maintains that he never bet against the Reds, saying in a 2007 TV interview: “I bet on my team to win every night because I love my team, I believe in my team,” Rose said. “I did everything in my power every night to win that game.”
Roasting of Pete Rose at Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati
Rose still follows baseball and considers himself an ambassador of the game himself. He regularly makes appearances in Las Vegas and at events to sell autographs. In 2015, Fox Sports hired Rose to serve as a guest analyst for MLB coverage on Fox and Fox Sports 1.
Rose will be honored with a roast at Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati on June 11. Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman will serve as master of ceremonies. the event will also include Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Sr. and George Foster, both former teammates of Rose.