New proof shows Rose betted while he batted

Pete Rose, seen here in a 1999 photo, has always insisted that he did not bet during his playing days, in which he set the MLB all-time record for most hits.
Pete Rose, seen here in a 1999 photo, has always insisted that he did not bet during his playing days, in which he set the MLB all-time record for most hits.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK - Even as he fills his present as a baseball analyst and prepares to be part of the official activities at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati on July 14, Pete Rose cannot escape his past.

The 74-year-old is Major League Baseball's (MLB) career hits leader with 4,256 hits but has been on the permanently ineligible list for Hall-of-Fame admission since 1989 because he betted on baseball games - and the Cincinnati Reds - when he was their manager.

But his pending bid for reinstatement by commissioner Rob Manfred could be complicated by a new ESPN report that he also betted on baseball while he was still playing in 1986.

He played part-time that season while he was also the Reds' manager, and recorded the last 52 hits of his career.

On Monday, ESPN reported that it had obtained copies of pages from a spiral notebook kept by former Rose associate Michael Bertolini, recording bets that Rose made from March to July 1986.

In that period, the notebook showed that Rose betted on at least one MLB team on 30 different days, betting on his team 21 times, some of those on days when he played.

However, there was no proof that he wagered against the Reds.

ESPN's report contradicts Rose's stance, which he reiterated as recently as April, that he did not bet on baseball while he played.

He also denied for 15 years that he gambled on baseball as a manager but admitted in 2004 in a book and a television interview that he had done so.

John Dowd, the lawyer who investigated Rose for MLB, told ESPN that the notebook "closes the door" on any possible reinstatement because it backs other proof that he had that Rose gambled as a player, including the testimony of a bookie, Ron Peters.

"(The Bertolini betting book) establishes beyond any question that Rose betted on the Reds in 1986 when he was a player," he said.

"And it absolutely establishes that he was betting with the mob in New York, which was always my biggest concern, that they had a mortgage on the guy."

MLB had no comment on the ESPN report while Rose, in a statement issued to ESPN by his lawyer, said he would not discuss matters related to reinstatement.

Over the years, baseball has permitted Rose into major league stadiums for official events - including on the field at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati five years ago for a commemoration of his record-breaking 4,192nd hit.

Dowd believes that no commissioner should let Rose appear at any official event again.

"I don't think you can marginalise the rule," Dowd said, referring to Major League Rule 21, which prohibits betting by players.

NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2015, with the headline 'New proof shows Rose betted while he batted'. Print Edition | Subscribe