Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer Barry Larkin said Friday that his former manager and MLB hit king Pete Rose deserves to be in Cooperstown alongside him.
"He has 4,256 hits. Period," Larkin told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He was my first manager. I love Pete. To me, absolutely he belongs. He broke rules, and it is what it is. But, as far as I'm concerned, Pete is a Hall of Famer, no doubt in my mind."
Larkin, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, also said Rose could still provide a positive, personalized influence on younger professional players if he were allowed back to the game of baseball.
Rose was banned from baseball for life on Aug. 24, 1989, for betting on baseball games.
In March, Rose sent new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred a formal reinstatement request. Manfred said at the time he was prepared to deal with the request "on its merits."
Rose managed Larkin and the Reds from the 1984 season until midway through the 1989 season. For the first three of those seasons, Rose also played for Cincinnati.
Rose amassed 4,256 hits in his 24-year career, the most of anyone ever to play professional baseball.
Rose will reportedly attend this year's MLB All-Star Game, which will be held in Cincinnati.