Pete Rose backs Donald Trump ahead of Ohio primary

Pete Rose: Life in exile
Pete Rose: Life in exile

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    Pete Rose: Life in exile

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Story highlights

  • Pete Rose signs ball and lends support to Donald Trump
  • Despite being banned from baseball, Rose is still very popular in Ohio

(CNN)Baseball legend Pete Rose is going to bat for Donald Trump, making public his support for the billionaire's White House bid.

Trump on Sunday night tweeted an image of a ball signed by Rose, addressed to the GOP front-runner, asking that he "Please make America great again."
    "We gotta let Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame," Trump said during a rally hours earlier in West Chester, Ohio, according to Cincinnati.com.
    Rose in 1989 was banned from the sport for life after evidence surfaced that he bet on games, including those of the Cincinnati Reds teams he played for and managed.
    Despite the revelations, Rose remains an immensely popular figure in his home state of Ohio, home to a crucial primary contest on Tuesday.
    In January, the Reds announced that his number 14 will be retired by the organization this summer during a weekend-long celebration of his career. According to MLB.com, the team has also commissioned a statue to be built in honor of the game's all-time hits leader.
    But Rose remains persona non grata with the league, which in December 2015 denied his latest bid for reinstatement.
    "I am also not convinced that he has avoided the type of conduct and associations that originally led to his placement on the permanently ineligible list," current commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in his decision.