Hall hopeful says he never bet against Reds

Originally Published: January 5, 2004
Associated Press

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.

Rose write-in tally: Subtract by 3
Pete Rose, ineligible for baseball's Hall of Fame ballot because of his lifetime ban, received 15 write-in votes Tuesday -- three fewer than last year.

Rose, who admitted in his soon-to-be-released autobiography that he bet on Cincinnati while managing the Reds, must be reinstated by December 2005 to appear on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot.

In the 13 seasons he has been ineligible because of the ban, Rose has been written in on 230 of 6,171 ballots (3.7 percent).

Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley were elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday in their first year of eligibility. Molitor was picked on 431 of 506 ballots (85.2 percent) cast; Eckersley was selected on 421 ballots (83.2 percent).
-- Associated Press

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.' "


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE