'Where was your conscience?'

Updated: January 14, 2004, 6:39 PM ET
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins will never endorse Pete Rose as a candidate for Cooperstown, the former pitcher said in an open letter released Wednesday.

"Knowing what I know now, I will never support your reinstatement to the game or your bid for the Hall," Jenkins wrote.

Rose admitted in a new book, "Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars," that he bet on the Cincinnati Reds while he was their manager.

Jenkins, who was in Oklahoma to attend an awards presentation, had previously supported Rose's bid for the Hall. Rose, the all-time hits leader, agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989.

"I thought that being the athlete he was, and I played against Pete, that he had the numbers to be qualified," Jenkins said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"But now ... it's so apparent now with the gambling issue, he's kind of lost my vote," he said.

In the letter, Jenkins criticized Rose for releasing the book.

"Hey, we didn't make the millions these guys are making today, but surely you can find a way to make some money without embarrassing baseball," he said. "You broke a major rule on betting on baseball.

"After you were caught betting, where was your conscience all these years? Why didn't you come forward with your admission of guilt soon after your lifetime ban?"

Jenkins won 284 games for Philadelphia, the Chicago Cubs, Texas and Boston from 1965 through 1984 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.

He was in Oklahoma for Tuesday night's ceremony in Guthrie honoring Andy Pettitte as the winner of the Warren Spahn Award as the majors' best left-handed pitcher during 2003.

Jenkins formerly owned a ranch in Guthrie, Okla., but now lives in Anthem, Ariz.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press