Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Going to the Hall aflame?

By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

So Pete Rose finally admits he bet on baseball. But as Page 2 reveals in an exclusive excerpt, that's not the only thing he admits in his new book ...

Hell yes, I bet on baseball. And I bet on the Reds, too. I bet on the Reds to win, I bet on the Reds to lose and I bet on the Reds to get rained out. If someone was offering the Hit King odds, I took them. Hell, I even bet on whether Schottzie would take a dump in fair or foul territory. (That was a real sucker's bet -- I would slip Exlax into his dog food and he'd be squatting lower than Tony Pena before he even left the dugout.)

Pete Rose
Hey, what'd you expect from a guy who hustled on the field?
Regrets? Only that I got caught. The Hit King could sell those betting slips for a pretty penny if they weren't locked away in some FBI evidence room.

That isn't all. My publishers tell me that confession is good for the soul -- and for my book sales and Hall of Fame chances. So, after all these years, I'm taking this opportunity to finally come clean about all the bad things the Hit King done during my career.

That night my wife called my hotel room in St. Louis at three-thirty in the morning and demanded to know who in hell was that bitch who answered the phone? In case you ain't figured it out by now, honey, it wasn't the maid.

And yeah, it was the Hit King who put Vick's VapoRub in Johnny Bench's jockstrap that day in Montreal in 1978. God, I still laugh until the snot shoots out of my nostrils whenever I think about the big dummy writhing on the clubhouse floor, begging our trainer for something to relieve the pain. Bench missed the whole weekend because of it, the big wuss. But the funniest thing is that goody two-shoes always figured George Foster done it. Which was just fine with me. I could never stand either of them.

The time I missed my son's eighth birthday party because I was out of town? Sorry about that Petey; you were right. The Reds never went on road trips in mid-November. And no, the broad who sang "Happy Birthday" to you over the phone wasn't your aunt. You did like the Hot Wheels set, though, right?

The night Joe Morgan asked me if I could lend him $50 and I said I would have loved to have helped him out but I didn't have that much money on me? I did.

The phony paternity suit delivered to Woody Woodward's hotel room in New York back in 1968? Sorry about that, Wood-Man. The Hit King had no idea your wife was on the trip. I can't remember whether you two actually split up over that or not; but either way, you can tell her now that it was just a practical joke on my part. I swear though, Woody, you should have seen the f---ing expression on your mug when you showed up in the clubhouse that night. Not even Ray Fosse looked that bad when I clocked him at home plate to win the 1970 All-Star Game.

Pete Rose
Let Pete into Cooperstown and he'll be yesterday's news.
I kind of hate to admit this, but that was me who cut the cheese that one night on the team bus.

All those dumb broads over the years who asked about the ring on my finger? You were right. It WAS a wedding band -- the Hit King always kept my World Series rings in a safety deposit box (or at least, I did until I had to hock them to pay back my taxes to those damn IRS vultures).

The many times I rudely blew off the fans at the stadium? My bad again. Turns out, Major League Rule 21(d) did not prohibit me from signing autographs for free.

I really hate to admit this, but I DO dye my hair.

And finally, one last personal confession. Marge, those pantsuits DID make you look fat.

Whew, the Hit King feels a whole lot better to have finally gotten all that off my chest!

Now, when do I get into the Hall of Fame?

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com