Baseball legend and all-time hits leader Pete Rose allegedly bet on baseball as a player in 1986 based on a notebook obtained by ESPN's "Outside The Lines" on June 22.
It turns out Pete Rose bet on baseball as a player after all.
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According to a June 22 ESPN update from William Weinbaum and T.J. Quinn, new documents obtained by the network's program, "Outside The Lines," suggest Rose bet on baseball and on the Cincinnati Reds in 1986.
Weinbaum and Quinn stress the documents are the first written evidence of Rose betting on baseball as a major league player. More precisely, they are pages from a notebook which was seized by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service inside the residence of Michael Bertolini, a former associate of Rose.
The raid took place in Oct. 1989, just weeks after the league permanently banned Rose. The ESPN report stresses the raid was part of a mail fraud investigation and had nothing to do with gambling. The documents were authenticated by two people who participated in the raid.
Since then, the documents have been sealed and are preserved in the National Archives' New York office, per Weinbaum and Quinn.
Rose and his lawyer, Raymond Genco, issued a statement on the matter, per ESPN:
"Since we submitted the application earlier this year, we committed to MLB that we would not comment on specific matters relating to reinstatement. I need to maintain that. To be sure, I'm eager to sit down with (MLB commissioner Rob) Manfred to address my entire history -- the good and the bad -- and my long personal journey since baseball.
"That meeting will likely come sometime after the All-Star break. Therefore at this point, it's not appropriate to comment on any specifics."
Bertolini's attorney, Nicholas De Feis, told ESPN his client is not interested in discussing the issue.
Former federal prosecutor John Dowd, who spearheaded the 1989 investigation, pored over the documents at the request of "Outside The Lines." He said his investigators tried to obtain them but were unable to do so.
Sports bookie Ron Peters testified to Dowd and his team back then that Rose bet on the Reds from 1984 to 1986. Dowd also obtained another piece of verbal evidence of Rose's betting on baseball in the form of a phone conversation between Bertolini and another Rose associate, Paul Janszen, per Weinbaum and Quinn.
Dowd then chimes in on the most recent development regarding the Rose betting issue, per ESPN:
"This does it. This closes the door.
"We knew that (Bertolini) recorded the bets, and that he bet himself, but we never had his records. We tried to get them. He refused to give them to us. This is the final piece of the puzzle on a New York betting operation with organized crime. And, of course, (Rose) betting while he was a player.
"The rule says, if you bet, it doesn't say for or against. It's another device by Pete to try to excuse what he did. But when he bet, he was gone. He placed his finaincial interest ahead of the Reds, period."
In addition, the documents do not prove Rose bet against the Reds. However, they reveal Rose "bet on at least one MLB team for 30 days" from March to July 1986, per ESPN.
On 21 of those days, Weinbaum and Quinn say Rose clearly bet on baseball and on the Reds, "including on games on which he played." The bets were arouned $2,000 apiece. The largest sum he gambled on -- and which he eventually lost -- was on the NBA's Boston Celtics.
Weinbaum and Quinn also discovered Rose bet extensively on college and professional basketball, even losing $15,400 on just one day in March 1986.
The development could be a setback in the making for Rose, who applied to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for reinstatement in March. Dowd is currently assisting MLB CIO and executive vice president of administration John McHale, Jr. in reviewing Rose's application, per ESPN.
A month after his application for reinstatement, Rose once again denied he bet on baseball during a guest appearance on Michael Kay's ESPN New York 98.7 FM radio show, per Weinbaum and Quinn.
"Never bet as a player," Rose told Kay. "That's a fact."
Fay Vincent, who served as MLB deputy commissioner in 1989, told USA TODAY's Dave Clark and Bob Nightengale (via Cincinnati.com) in the aftermath of the ESPN report that it is "nothing new under the sun":
"We knew this guy was betting in the 80's. It just wasn't releveant to our discussion. He's a bad fellow, I think you guys would all agree. I've had 25 years talking about this. I really can't add anything.
"I don't think there's a chance in the world (Rose will will enter the Baseball Hall of Fame). Who wants to buy Pete Rose and own it? It's too dangerous. You don't know what he might do. Anybody who takes it on is on his own."
Rose amassed 4,256 hits, 160 home runs and 1,314 RBIs on a .303 batting average in 3,562 career regular-season games for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos, per Baseball-Reference.com.
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