The former MLB special counsel who investigated him said Pete Rose's lifetime ban from baseball must be upheld in the face of appeals for his reinstatement, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer report.
"This (gambling) is just such a terrible business ... it really does infect the game," said former special counsel to the MLB commissioner, John Dowd, in the report.
"Pete committed the capital crime of baseball. But this is bigger than just Pete Rose. There is a reason we haven't had another gambling case in 26 years. This case wasn't about Pete – this case was about protecting the integrity of the game."
The report comes just days after new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he received a formal request for reinstatement from Pete Rose and told CBS Sports he was "prepared to deal with the request on its merits."
Manfred noted in the interview that Rose could be elected to the Hall of Fame without being reinstated since the Hall of Fame is not operated by Major League Baseball. Rose has said publicly since Manfred assumed the role of commissioner in January that he would like to be reinstated.
Rose was banned from baseball in 1989 after an investigation spearheaded by Dowd found Rose had systemically gambled on baseball games, including those of the team he played for and managed: the Cincinnati Reds.
While it was common knowledge that then-commissioner Bart Giamatti would have considered only a suspension for Rose had he admitted to gambling, Dowd told the Enquirer that he and Giamatti worked with the FBI to ensure Rose would not face charges for tax evasion in the event he pled guilty.