Sources: Rose's status the same

Updated: July 27, 2009, 7:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Despite a report that he is "seriously considering" reinstating Pete Rose, MLB commissioner Bud Selig has not changed his thinking, sources told ESPN on Monday.

The New York Daily News reported that Selig was taking a new look at the ban for baseball's all-time hits leader.

Hank Aaron's support for Rose's Hall of Fame inclusion, which he mentioned at this weekend's ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., is a strong indication of Selig's possible action, the Daily News reported.

"I would like to see Pete in," Aaron said. "He belongs there."

But Fay Vincent, who took over as commissioner when Bart Giamatti died eight days after banishing Rose, told ESPN even if Rose were allowed onto the Hall ballot, it's unlikely to matter.

"There is no indication that there's any great support for Pete Rose to get in the Hall of Fame," Vincent told ESPN. "If members of the Hall of Fame say we don't want him, you've made a meaningless gesture."

Lobbying for the move began five years ago but died when Selig became convinced Rose was not "reconfiguring" his life, the newspaper report said, part of Giamatti's demands on Rose when he was ruled ineligible.

"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," an unnamed Hall of Famer said, according to 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 were to become eligible, he would have to be voted into the Hall of Fame by the 65 living members who make up the Veterans Committee.

Inclusion on the writers' ballot expires after 15 years, though Rose has never appeared on their ballot except by write-in. During his first year of eligibility, Rose received 41 write-in votes.

"I know there are still guys who feel strongly against him," said another Hall of Famer, according to the report. "And I don't know if that would change even if Selig clears him."

Vincent said he would tell Selig, "It's not about Pete Rose, it's about what's best for baseball."

"The deterrent for gambling is uppermost and it works," Vincent said. "Amidst enormous gambling in this country, if you touch the 'gambling third rail' in baseball, you die. Nobody has ever been reinstated. If you change that, you run the risk of a spate of episodes like Tim Donaghy in the NBA.

"It's not wise and not necessary."

Vincent said reinstating Rose exclusively for Hall consideration while disallowing him to return to baseballl professionally would also be a mistake.

"What you are saying is, it's a deterrent that only applies to players who aren't of Hall of Fame caliber, not to the .250 hitter, the third base coach or the bullpen catcher," Vincent said. "A double standard in the American system has never worked."

Information from ESPN's Willie Weinbaum was used in this report.