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Pete Rose hired as special guest analyst for Fox Sports

Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hit king, has been banned from baseball since 1989.AP

Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hit king, has been banned from baseball since 1989.

Pete Rose is back in baseball — or at least on the periphery of it.

Fox Sports announced Saturday it has hired baseball’s banned all-time hit king to serve as a guest studio analyst for its pregame and postgame shows as part of its regular-season MLB package on both Fox and Fox Sports 1.

RELATED: TIME TO GIVE PETE ROSE A CHANCE ON HALL OF FAME BALLOT

Rose has been on baseball’s permanent ineligible list since August of 1989, when an investigation by then-commissioner Bart Giamatti uncovered reams of evidence that he had bet on baseball while he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. At the time, Giamatti told Rose he needed to re-configure his life before he could apply for re-admission to baseball. Instead, Rose continued to deny he ever broke baseball’s “death sentence” cardinal rule for another 14 years and it wasn’t until January of 2004, with the release of his book, “My Prison Behind Bars,” that Rose finally came clean.

Now 74, Rose, who amassed a record 4,256 career hits, 3,562 games played, 3,215 singles, three batting titles and an MVP award, has spent the last 25 years of his life principally making a living at autograph shows. It was because of Rose’s longtime denial, that Giamatti’s predecessors — Fay Vincent and Bud Selig — refused or simply ignored Rose’s repeated overtures for a hearing to lift his ban, but new commissioner Rob Manfred announced a couple of months ago that he was now prepared to give him, “a full and fresh new look.”

It has not been determined when Rose and his representatives will meet with Manfred, but this Fox hiring is said to be “totally unrelated” to that. MLB’s VP of Communications Pat Courtney told the Daily News on Saturday that Fox officials gave Manfred the courtesy of informing him that they were interviewing Rose to be a studio analyst.

“But this is their decision and we have nothing to do with this,” Courtney said.

Pete Rose, who has been battling to get back in the game, takes a step forward with his new gig with Fox Sports.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Pete Rose, who has been battling to get back in the game, takes a step forward with his new gig with Fox Sports.

One of the main stipulations of the permanent ineligible list is that Rose is not permitted in any of the restricted (credentialed) areas of major-league ballparks, but as Courtney noted, “this is a studio situation (away from the ballpark).”

Under those circumstances, it’s a wonder why no network hired Rose as a studio analyst in all the years he’s been out of baseball before this. Was it because they were afraid to cross Selig? It was one baseball official’s conjecture Saturday that Fox made the hire to bring extra fan attention to its broadcasts, particularly Fox Sports 1, which struggled for ratings in its first year last season because so many viewers couldn’t find it.

If there’s one thing Rose has always had, it’s the gift of gab. Before his ban, Rose was considered one of the greatest goodwill ambassadors baseball ever had because of his engaging nature with fans. He was also a media favorite who loved sitting around talking baseball with reporters before and after games — and, in that respect, he would seem to be a natural for this job.

It’s a small step for him to re-connect with mainstream baseball and it will also provide Manfred more opportunity to evaluate Rose’s worthiness for reinstatement.

As it is, Rose remains the only player in the history of baseball who was never eligible for the Hall of Fame.

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Daily News – Sports

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