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Hall hopeful says he never bet against Reds

1/7/2004 - Cincinnati Reds

NEW YORK -- Now the wait begins.

Pete Rose hopes baseball will end his lifetime ban after his
first public acknowledgment he bet on games while managing the
Cincinnati Reds.

The admission in "My Prison Without Bars," his autobiography
due out Thursday, will be part of the evidence in Rose's case for
reinstatement, commissioner Bud Selig's chief deputy, Bob DuPuy,
said Monday.

"The application remains pending, and the commissioner will
take all of this into account," DuPuy said.

Whether or when baseball makes a decision is anyone's guess.
Selig has refused to rule for more than six years on Rose's bid for
reinstatement, which is necessary for the career hits leader to
reach the Hall of Fame.

Rose agreed to the lifetime ban in August 1989, and he applied
for reinstatement in 1997.

For 14 years, Rose denied publicly he bet on baseball. He fesses
up in the book, saying he regrets gambling on the game he loves and
then lying about it.

Rose says he started betting regularly on baseball in 1987, the
year after he stopped playing, according to excerpts from the book
released to Sports Illustrated for this week's issue, which hits
newsstands Wednesday. He says he only ever bet on the Reds to win.

Selig's immediate predecessor, Fay Vincent, read the excerpts
and was outraged, concluding that Rose did not deserve
reinstatement.

"There's no sense of regret, no sense of shame, no sense of the
damage he did to baseball," Vincent said. "I guess I'm really
disgusted. I think the whole thing is a sordid, miserable story.
It's sort of like turning over a stone -- you see a lot of maggots,
and it's not very pretty."

Rose chronicles two meetings with baseball commissioners more
than 13 years apart. In the first, with Peter Ueberroth in February
1989, the Reds' manager denied ever betting on baseball. In the
second, with Selig in November 2002, Rose decided to confess.

"Yes, sir, I did bet on baseball," Rose told Selig during the
private meeting.

"How often?" Selig asked.

"Four or five times a week," Rose replied. "But I never bet
against my own team, and I never made any bets from the
clubhouse."

"Why?" Selig asked.

"I didn't think I'd get caught."

After the meeting, Rose came away thinking he would be
reinstated "within a reasonable period."

"I've consistently heard the statement: 'If Pete Rose came
clean, all would be forgiven,' " he writes. "Well, I've done what
you've asked. The rest is up to the commissioner and the big umpire
in the sky."

If reinstated, Rose's last chance to appear on the writers'
ballot for the Hall of Fame is December 2005. After that, he could
be voted in by the veterans' committee.

But even if he appears on the ballot, he needs 75 percent of the
voters to select him, and Hall rules state "voting shall be based
upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity,
sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which
the player played."

Rose repeated his admission in an interview on ABC News'
"Primetime Thursday," parts of which aired Monday on "Good
Morning America."

"It's time to clean the slate, it's time to take
responsibility," Rose says in the interview. "I'm 14 years late.

"I just never had the opportunity to tell anybody that was
going to help me. ... I couldn't get a response from baseball for
12 years. It's like I died and, and they knew I died and they
didn't want to bring me back. They were just going to let me rot."

Rose wrote that if he "had been an alcoholic or a drug addict,
baseball would have suspended me for six weeks and paid for my
rehabilitation."

"I should have had the opportunity to get help, but baseball
had no fancy rehab for gamblers like they do for drug addicts,"
Rose wrote. "If I had admitted my guilt, it would have been the
same as putting my head on the chopping block -- lifetime ban. Death
penalty. I spent my entire life on the baseball fields of America,
and I was not going to give up my profession without first seeing
some hard evidence. ... Right or wrong, the punishment didn't fit
the crime -- so I denied the crime."

Rose admitted placing bets with Ronald Peters through Thomas
Gioiosa and Paul Janszen; they were the primary witnesses in the
1989 investigation by baseball lawyer John Dowd that led to the
agreement in which Rose accepted a lifetime ban.

Dowd concluded Rose bet on baseball from 1985-87 and detailed
412 baseball wagers between April 8-July 5, 1987, including 52 on
Cincinnati to win.

"During the times I gambled as a manager, I never took an
unfair advantage," Rose wrote. "I never bet more or less based on
injuries or inside information. I never allowed my wagers to
influence my baseball decisions. So in my mind, I wasn't corrupt."

Dowd was traveling Monday and could not be contacted.

In his first autobiography, published in 1989, Rose denied
gambling. That book, "Pete Rose: My Story," was written with
Roger Kahn.

"I feel he has embarrassed me," Kahn said Monday. "I must
have asked Pete 20 times, 'Did you bet on baseball?' He would look
at me, blink his eyes and say, 'I didn't bet baseball. I have too
much respect for the game.' "