Nearing the Ohio GOP primary, Republican front-runner Donald Trump has garnered a valuable endorsement: disgraced baseball legend Pete Rose.
On March 15, Ohio voters will help determine who will become the Republican presidential nominee.
While the winner-take-all primary provides an opportunity for Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich to give his campaign a huge boost in momentum and delegates, a win for Trump could cinch the business mogul’s lock on the nomination.
On Mar. 13, Trump tweeted out a picture of a baseball signed by former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pet Rose.
“Mr. Trump, please make America Great Again,” Rose scrawled in all-caps with blue marker, finishing with his signature.
“Just received from @PeteRose_14,” Trump tweeted. “Thank you Pete! #VoteTrump on Tuesday Ohio!”
While Rose has not personally issued an official statement that he is endorsing Trump, the business mogul has used the signed baseball as evidence enough to tout the for baseball star’s approval.
“Where [Trump] tends to run up the score is with 40-plus white men,” political science teacher Mack Mariani of Xavier University told Cincinnati.com. “Those are people who grew up with Pete Rose. That’s a smart fit for Trump’s voters.”
On Feb. 13, Trump wasted no time to remind his supporters of Rose’s endorsement during a campaign rally in Greater Cincinnati.
“I love Cincinnati,” the mogul declared. “By the way, Pete Rose -- let him in… we gotta let Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know what Major League Baseball is doing.”
Rose was banned from consideration in the baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 after it was discovered that he had made a series of bets, some against his own team. In December 2015, the league’s commissioner Rob Manfred refused to lift the ban on the disgraced player.
“Can’t believe Major League Baseball just rejected [Pete Rose] for the Hall of the Fame,” Trump tweeted out following Manfred’s announcement. “He’s paid the price. So ridiculous - let him in!”
While Rose is persona non grata in the MLB, he has remained a favorite son in his native state of Ohio.
During an appearance on Fox News, Gov. Kasich responded to Rose’s endorsement of Trump with a chuckle.
“My wife will be disappointed — she’s always wanted Rose to go in the Hall of Fame,” Kasich said, according to the Washington Times. “She’s going to probably have to take a second look at that.”