Pete Rose Has Cards In 2024 Bowman Baseball Despite Lifetime MLB Ban, Statutory Rape Allegations

Pete Rose is back in baseball — kind of. For the first time since 1989, the all-time hits king will have his own card in a licensed Topps product. Rose has been included in the upcoming 2024 Bowman Baseball set despite his lifetime ban and statutory rape allegations.

Pete Rose
Pete Rose by Kjunstorm on Openverse (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.)

Rose, along with St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson, will appear as a Retrofactor variation for the Cincinnati Reds in 2024 Bowman Baseball. Rose will also have Retrofactor autographs.

Rose also appeared on a 2020 Topps Series 2 Decades’ Best Philadelphia Phillies card.

2020 Topps Series 2 Decades' Best Philadelphia Phillies card
2020 Topps Series 2 Decades’ Best Philadelphia Phillies card. (credit: eBay)

Rose hasn’t had a licensed baseball card since 1989 after he was banned for life by then Major League Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti for betting on games, including his own team, while he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The ban rendered Rose ineligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite his on-field accomplishments.

A year after he was barred from baseball, Rose was sentenced to five months in prison and fined $50,000 for filing false tax returns. He was eventually released in January 1991.

For years, Rose denied the allegations, but in 2004, he finally admitted in his autobiography, “My Prison Without Bars,” that he had bet on baseball and on the Reds. Despite his admission and numerous appeals for reinstatement, MLB has upheld Rose’s ban.

It’s shocking Rose will be featured on a licensed baseball product from Topps, not only because of the ban, but also of the statutory rape allegations that surfaced in 2017 due to a defamation suit Rose filed against John Dowd, the lawyer who led MLB’s investigation into Rose’s gambling scandal.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Mullin in 2022:

But as part of the defamation suit that followed against Dowd, new testimony suggested that Rose had a years-long relationship with an underage girl in Cincinnati during the 1970s after first meeting in 1973.

“Sometime after that, Pete Rose and I began meeting at a house in Cincinnati,” the woman said in a statement first obtained by ESPN. “It was at that house where, before my 16th birthday, Pete Rose began a sexual relationship with me. This sexual relationship lasted for several years. Pete Rose also met me in locations outside of Ohio where we had sex.”

Rose admitted in court filings that he had sex with the woman in question but believed that she was 16 at the time their relationship began “sometime in 1975,” when Rose was 34 years old and married with two children.

Because of the statute of limitations, Rose could not be charged with a crime.

Some collectors were caught off guard that Rose will appear in 2024 Bowman Baseball.


Rose played from 1963 to 1986 for the Reds, Phillies and Montreal Expos. He spent most of his career with the Reds, where he established himself as one of the game’s greatest hitters. Rose holds the all-time records for hits (4,256), games played (3,562), and at-bats (14,053). He was a 17-time All-Star, a three-time World Series champion, and the 1973 National League Most Valuable Player.

While Rose’s on-field achievements are undeniable, his actions off the field have forever tainted his legacy.

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