Rose investigator himself a target of persecution

Updated: January 18, 2004, 11:53 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- John Dowd does not think Pete Rose read the report he compiled for baseball that led to the career hit leader's permanent ban from the sport.

Dowd, the investigator who in 1989 headed the probe into Rose and his gambling, made the conclusion after reading Rose's new book "My Prison Without Bars." In the book, Rose confessed to betting on baseball and on Cincinnati Reds games while he was the team's manager. The admission ended 14 years of denials from Rose about his gambling habits vis-a-vis baseball.

"I concluded after reading it that he never read my report," Dowd told The New York Times for Sunday editions. "He's autographed it and sold it, but never read it."

The Washington lawyer believes Rose hasn't read the report because the "Hit King" relates in his book that he told baseball commissioner Bud Selig in a November 2002 meeting, "I never made any bets from the clubhouse." However, the 225-page Dowd report details multiple times the phone calls Rose's gambling friends made to his clubhouse office at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati in the hours before Reds games and then to bookies -- presumably to place Rose's bets.

"One fo the most impressive exhibits we put together was when we combined the telephone records in that period in 1987 with operators' records at Riverfront Stadium," Dowd told The Times. "It was one of the most damning pieces of circumstantial evidence I've ever seen."

Though a subsequent and separate investigation turned up the same findings on Rose's gambling habits that Dowd did, Major League Baseball filed a complaint with the District of Columbia Bar in 1998, alleging that Dowd had violated lawyer-client privilege. The league distanced itself from Dowd, who felt puzzled by the move.

"Probably the worst thing was when Bud Selig's lawyers tried to take my license," Dowd said.

Bob DuPuy, the current president and chief operating officer of MLB, told The Times, "At the time, (Dowd) was repeatedly and consistently commenting on the work he had done for baseball and the Rose case. Pete had an application for reinstatement pending, and we didn't think it was appropriate while that application was pending for a lawyer to be talking about the case. We asked (Dowd) to stop commenting and he refused."

"In fairness," DuPuy told the newspaper, "we have not had any occasion to address that issue with him since then. (But) no one here has challenged the efficacy or protocol of the work that (Dowd) did."

The bar council eventually dismissed the complaint, reports The Times.

"It's no fun when someone goes after your meal ticket," Dowd said. "It was especially difficult when it was the commissioner of baseball doing it."

Earlier this month, Dowd would not comment to The Associated Press on Rose's turnabout.

"I really don't want to get into a Dowd versus Rose," Dowd said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press