Topps created a buzz last week when the card company announced that it would no longer acknowledge the achievements of Pete Rose on the back of today's baseball cards. On Tuesday, the Cincinnati legend released a series of statements pleading for Topps and Major League Baseball to overturn the decision.
"I am not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me. I am asking only that Topps/MLB not compound my punishment by deleting the truth of what I achieved,'' Rose said in a statement released to USA TODAY Sports. "Please believe me, I have suffered very much for what I did, but I need to respond when what I did fair and square in baseball is taken away from me too. That is neither fair nor honest.''Rose played in the league from 1963 to 1986 and served as the manager of the Reds from 1984 to 1989. In August 1989, Rose agreed to become permanently ineligible from baseball amid accusations that he gambled on baseball while playing and managing for the Reds, which includes claims that he even bet on his own team.
"I was banished from baseball 24 years ago and am now 71 years old. I have recently had two heart procedures,'' said the statement. "The punishment from the Commissioner's Office I have suffered as result of my actions is one I accept full responsibility for. For far too many years, I denied the truth of how I had acted and I recognize that I disgraced myself, and disrespected the game, players and fans that I loved every day I went out on the field.Born and raised in the Queen City, "Charlie Hustle" owns multiple MLB career records including most hits (4,256), most games played (3,562), and most at-bats (14,053). He believes his achievements should be noted because he worked hard for each and every one.
"But I never gave less than 100% as a player, and I worked hard for every hit and every record I accomplished. I ask that Topps/MLB recognize that my records were honestly earned and that that my punishment not go beyond what Commissioner (Bart) Giamatti directed."The baseball icon says he is thankful for the forgiving society that he lives in and hopes they can judge him based not solely on his past transgressions, but how he has grown, as well.
"I am grateful to my former teammates, fans and most importantly my family and friends who have forgiven me and respect me for whom I am today. I am grateful that I live in a nation where most believe that one's punishment should fit their wrongdoing and that ours is a nation that judges an individual by both what he has done and how he has changed.''Rose is not eligible for National Baseball Hall of Fame consideration per his ineligibility agreement. However, his credentials as a player more than warrant his inclusion into Cooperstown should MLB ever decide to lift his ban.
Rose concluded by stating:
"I am proud of my records as a ballplayer and their place in the great history of the game. They should be restored immediately as they are part of my story too.''Via USA Today