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Pete Rose erased from Topps baseball cards

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com
Pete Rose erased from Topps baseball cards
Former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose who is banned from entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame for gambling on games has had his name erased from all Topps baseball cards as of the 2013 season. His all-time hit record appears without his name. (File/UPI/Ezio Petersen) | License Photo

Pete Rose -- Major League Baseball's all-time Hit King -- has had his name omitted from the 2013 lineup of Topps baseball cards. Topps owns exclusive rights to produce MLB-licensed trading cards, and representatives called the elimination of Rose's name a "simple decision."

On the back of each baseball card for the 2013 season, Topps is printing a "Career Chase" blurb showing how far each player is from certain milestones and records in hits, runs, or strikeouts. For example, on the back of Paul Konerko's card it says that his 422 career homers are 340 shy of Barry Bonds' record 762. Yet on the back of Starlin Castro's card, Chicago Side Sports shows in scanned photos, it says that his 529 hits are 3,727 shy of the record. But the card doesn't mention who owns the record, the way it does with all the others.

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Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life. He cannot play, coach, or manage baseball and he was banned from the Hall of Fame, all for gambling on baseball. But some fans think erasing his name from his record as if he didn't exist is absurd considering some of baseball's other villains. Ty Cobb hasn't been erased, for example. Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and other players haven't had their records erased, though they haven't been banned from the game or the Hall of Fame either.

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[UPDATE: After this story was published, Topps representative Jeff Fransen emailed to say that "MLB does not permit the usage of the name or likeness of Pete Rose in licenced products and that legality is the reason the decision was 'simple'." He also said the news coverage has started a "firestorm" of "hate mail and angry phone calls."]

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