When Major League Baseball banned Pete Rose
from the sport in 1989 for gambling on his own Cincinnati Reds, the league also omitted him from all merchandise, including T-shirts, baseball caps, and, most notably, baseball cards.
While the league's move is standard for any player who gets banned, ChicagoSide
writer and card collector Rob Harris also noticed the all-time hit leader's name has been missing from the section of the card that has records. Rose has yet to be actually overtaken by any big-league slugger, but his name has been absent from the backs of Topps cards, where it should appear with his record 4,256 hits.
"On the back of each card, wedged between each player’s personal information and his 'Complete Major and Minor League Batting Record,' there’s a little line labeled 'Career Chase.' On every card, whether the player is a living legend or a rookie, there is a sentence indicating how close that player is to reaching one of the game’s big records," Harris said.
For instance, the Topps card for Paul Konerko states that he is "340 shy of Barry Bonds’ record of 762," with 422 careers homers notched in his belt.
Rose's name should be there, on the back of players' cards.
reported that Topps has let Rose's name slide since as early as 2006.
When Harris got in touch with Topps to ask why Rose had been omitted, a spokesperson said it was "a simple decision" but declined to elaborate.
While Rose was barred from all MLB activities and promotions, it was for gambling, rather than other illegal actions like taking performance enhancing drugs
, which some consider is more serious.
Rose's exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame and his possible reinstatement to the league has been contentious for years. He has applied for reinstatement twice, in 1992 and 1997, and both times the applications were ignored.
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