Rose fired back after Bench refused to budge from his view that the former Cincinnati Reds star should be excluded from the Baseball Hall of Fame for gambling on the sport in 1989.
“It don't bother me but you know Johnny Bench is one guy who should thank God I was born,” Rose told host Brian Kilmeade. “Because he never would have made the Hall of Fame if I wasn't born.”
Kilmeade asked Rose to elaborate.
“Because I'm the guy he knocked in a thousand times. You got you've got guys in front of you guys right behind you and you got to be responsible for everybody else involved,” Rose said, adding that Bench couldn’t understand why he wasn’t as loved as Rose was in Cincinnati.
Rose admitted that he does get along with Bench these days and there would be no problem if the two got together.
“I'll continue going around the world we live in and telling everybody he's the greatest catcher of all times,” Rose said. “I don't get tired of saying that because it's the truth. Now I can't help it the way he feels but I would think if he's a Cincinnati fan and he cares about the city of Cincinnati that he would probably want me to be in the Hall of Fame.”
Whether Rose gets into the Hall of Fame is a different question. Even with legalized gambling and the increase of legal wagering around the sports world, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told The Athletic last year his mind is still set in regards to Rose.
“No matter what happens in terms of legalization, there will always be a rule that prohibits betting on baseball. That’s the bedrock of our integrity,” Manfred said. “That’s the rule Pete Rose violated. Whether [gambling] is legal or illegal, the rule is still going to be there. First of all, it was illegal when he did it. But more importantly, we’re always going to have that rule applicable to on-field personnel. It doesn’t change my thinking at all.”