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Thursday, December 12, 2002
Report: Dowd says Rose 'probably' bet against team

ESPN.com news services

If John Dowd had more time to investigate Pete Rose 13 years ago, he likely would have unearthed an even more damaging account of the all-time hits leader's gambling habits.

Thursday, Dec. 12
Over the last two days I have read and heard inaccurate reports about the meeting between Pete Rose and Bud Selig. The one that disturbs me the most is that the Hall of Famers were involved in trying to get Selig to reinstate Pete. That is untrue.

Here is the truth: Within the last year, I asked Selig for a favor. I never asked Bud to reinstate Pete. I asked him to meet with Pete and evaluate him on his own -- where he is today compared to where he was 13 years ago. Bud granted me the favor, met with Pete sometime before Thanksgiving, and is now evaluating the meeting.

It's Bud's decision whether or not to reinstate Pete. I don't know enough about the Dowd report to ask for anything other than a meeting with Pete.

I'm disappointed that information about the meeting was leaked to the press. The leaks had to come from someone at the meeting. I wasn't at the meeting, but whoever leaked it has not helped the process.

Dowd told the New York Post on Wednesday he thought it was "probably right" that Rose not only bet on Reds games but that he bet against the Reds during the mid-to-late-1980s when Rose managed Cincinnati.

Dowd's comments came during a lengthy telephone interview with the Post and were published in Thursday's editions of the newspaper.

"This is the first I've heard of that claim,'' Vincent said Thursday. At the time of the investigation, Vincent was deputy commissioner under A. Bartlett Giamatti, and Vincent hired Dowd to head the probe.

Dowd, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer, investigated Rose for commissioners Peter Ueberroth and Giamatti in 1989. He said his investigation was "close" to showing that Rose also bet against the Reds, but that time constraints prevented its inclusion in the report.

The official Dowd Report says "no evidence was discovered that Rose bet against the Cincinnati Reds."

Dowd said Thursday he was asked by the Post whether he came across any evidence that Rose gambled against his team. Dowd said he told the paper there was some, but it was inconclusive.

"I was never able to tie it down,'' Dowd said. "It was unreliable, and that's why I didn't include it in the report. I probably shouldn't have said it. I was not trying to start something here.''

Dowd also told the Post that Rose did not bet on the Reds whenever two pitchers, including Mario Soto, started, which "sent a message through the gambling community that the Reds can't win" on those days.

News broke this week that Rose and Selig met secretly in Milwaukee on Nov. 25 and have been exchanging draft proposals that could end his banishment from baseball.

ESPN learned Thursday that a group of Baseball Hall-of-Famers was invited to New York on Dec. 18 to discuss Rose's possible re-instatement with Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, and possibly with Selig.

During both Dowd's investigation into whether he bet on baseball as manager of the Reds from 1984-89 and in the aftermath of Aug. 23, 1989 when he signed an agreement for a lifetime ban, Rose has steadfastly denied betting on baseball.

Nothing has been agreed to at this point -- including whether or not Rose will be reinstated or regain eligibility for Hall of Fame induction -- and while any potential agreement could still fall apart, it's conceivable a deal could be reached by sometime next month, sources have told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.

Negotiations are still ongoing on the terms of exactly what Rose will be asked by Selig to admit to before he is reinstated. In order to satisfy constituents who are opposed to Rose's reinstatement, Selig is said to be firm in his conviction that Rose has to admit, in some form, that he bet on baseball.

Neither Roger Greene, Rose's agent, nor Roger Makley, his attorney, returned the Post's phone calls Wednesday. Selig refused comment on any issue involving Rose.

Among his litany of problems with Rose, Dowd told the Post, is that he has seen no evidence over the past 13 years that Rose "reconfigured his life" as Giamatti asked the baseball great to do at the time of his banishment. Thus, Dowd sees no reason to make Rose the first player ever allowed back from the permanently ineligible list.

"It sends a powerful, powerful, powerful message that if you cross the Rule 21 (gambling on baseball) line, you're not getting back in, baby," Dowd was quoted as saying about keeping Rose out.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.