If you’re scrolling through eBay looking for baseballs autographed by Pete Rose, you’ll realize that a lot of them are listed as “Pete Rose Bartlett Giamatti” baseballs. That’s because the former Cincinnati Reds slugger-turned-manager is connected to the Yale President-turned-MLB commissioner forever, and not in a way that either of them were psyched about.
According to the Baseball Almanac, in 1989, Commissioner Giamatti – and yes, before you ask, he’s Paul’s dad – investigated some disturbing allegations that Rose had been gambling on baseball games, including some Reds games when he was a player-manager of the team. Special Counsel John Dowd prepared a 225 page report and seven additional volumes of evidence, and determined that yup, Rose had bet on baseball.
The entire situation got as messy as you’d imagine: Rose denied it, and both filed and withdrew a federal lawsuit against Giamatti, before accepting a lifetime ban from the sport. The league itself did not comment on Rose’s guilt or innocence, but Giamatti said during a press conference that he “had concluded” that Rose did what he’d been accused of. Giamatti died of a heart attack just over a week later. (HOW CONVENIENT).
In the decades since, Rose has petitioned to be reinstated, and fans continue to push for the Hall of Fame to accept him, despite the whole gambling thing. But one person whose opinion hasn’t changed is Bart Giamatti’s son. No, the other one.
“[R]egarding Mr. Rose’s banishment on a different level, one pertinent to the moral level of honesty, effort and citizenry that my father held so sacred, Bart might add today that Rose still does not deserve a second chance for the sake of a second chance – without earning it,” writer and actor Marcus Giamatti wrote in 2014. “Mr. Rose has done nothing to earn his way back into baseball. My father would seek true remorse. Of which there has been none from Mr. Rose. True remorse would lead to true reconfiguration of one’s life. Also of which there has been none.”
But he’s still out there signing baseballs, sharing a piece of double-stitched leather with the man who kicked him out of the game. It’s either poetic, or it’s stupid…or somebody just needs a few bucks.
In this week’s Twitch quiz, we celebrated Paul Giamatti’s birthday with a video round where you have to name movies with directional words in their title. But, we stuck Paul Giamatti in to each one sideways. SIDEWAYS. See what we did there? Enjoy!