Charlie Hustle: the definitive Pete Rose book that deconstructs a discredited mythology.

A new biography that offers an uncompromising look at Major League Baseball’s all-time hit king has sparked new discussions as the latest gambling scandal to damage the sport unfolds.

Pete Rose was racking up hits on the field. Off the field, he accumulated gambling debts. While his hard work at the plate earned him baseball’s all-time hits record, his gambling earned him a harsh punishment: a lifelong ban from Major League Baseball and, later, the Hall of Fame. Veteran journalist Keith O’Brien’s new book, Charlie Hustle: The Rise and Fall of Pete Rose and the Last Glory Days of Baseball, revisits this epic saga.

“I feel like in the last 35 years since Pete Rose has been banned from baseball, and made mistake after mistake off the field, we forgot why we ever cared about him in the first place,” O’Brien stated. “The first thing I wanted to do was go back to that whole story, the whole arc.”

The book, named after Rose’s nickname, has new relevance in the aftermath of the latest big league gambling scandal: Ippei Mizuhara, the former translator for MLB standout Shohei Ohtani, is suspected of taking $16 million from the star to cover Mizuhara’s gambling debts. Ohtani says that he did not gamble on sports and was unaware of any of Mizuhara’s gambling debts.

It is still prohibited for Major League Baseball players to wager on their own sport or team. The latter would result in the same lifetime suspension imposed on Rose by then-commissioner A Bartlett Giamatti in 1989. An investigation led by Marine Corps veteran and Department of Justice alumnus John Dowd found that Rose, as Reds player-manager, had bet on his own games. Rose denied it but accepted Giamatti’s penalty. According to the book, the commissioner’s abrupt death that fall fueled public outrage against Rose.

According to the author, opinions regarding gambling have shifted in the six years since the Supreme Court legalized sports betting in the United States. “There’s been a massive shift in cultural acceptance of gambling,” adds O’Brien. “It is radically changing how we connect with and discuss sports. “I believe it is fundamentally changing American culture right now.”

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