Tony Perez: Pete Rose belongs in Hall
MIAMI -- Hall of Famer Tony Perez says former teammate Pete Rose has changed and deserves induction.
An emotional Rose was contrite after being roasted Saturday at a casino near Cincinnati, said Perez, one of several former Reds in attendance. Perez said Rose cried as he spoke at the end of the event.
"He talked about he disrespected the game," Perez said Tuesday. "He apologized to everybody, to us, to the fans, to baseball. He was very emotional. He got to me, too."
The banished all-time hits king made a rare on-field appearance earlier Saturday while the Reds commemorated the 25th anniversary of his record-setting hit No. 4,192.
Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 for gambling on baseball. After long denying guilt, he acknowledged in a 2004 autobiography that he bet on Reds games.
Rose is barred from the Hall of Fame because of his ban, but Perez said his ex-teammate deserves to become a member.
"I would love to see it," Perez said. "He's a different guy now. He's changed. I believe it. He knows he made a big mistake. He apologized late, but he's doing it. He said he was wrong."
Perez works for the Florida Marlins as a special assistant to the team president.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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