Report: Rose bet on baseball as a player

Documents unveiled by ESPN allege game's hit king placed bets in 1986

Report: Rose bet on baseball as a player

Pete Rose's hopes of being reinstated by Major League Baseball may have taken a hit with a report that he bet on the game while still a player.

While belatedly admitting that he wagered on baseball while managing the Reds years after accepting a lifetime ban for those activities, baseball's all-time hits leader has staunchly denied that he had ever violated one of baseball's most sacred rules while a player.

Another Rose claim -- that he only bet on his team to win -- remains unchallenged. No evidence is presented that he ever bet against Cincinnati.

That, according to a report released Monday by ESPN's "Outside The Lines," is contradictory to the "OTL" account. "OTL" revealed documents that allege Rose was actively betting on games in the latter stages of his playing career, specifically from March through July 1986.

This revelation comes at a fraught time for the hit king. He recently took a position as a baseball commentator and analyst for FOX Sports. He is scheduled to take part in the All-Star Game activities in his hometown at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park next month. And Commissioner Rob Manfred, who succeeded Bud Selig in January, had said he was willing to reconsider his 1989 banishment from the game.

Major League Baseball did not issue a statement after the news broke Monday. Manfred has pointed out in the past that while he has the authority to reinstate players, he does not have direct control over Hall of Fame eligibility.

Through his lawyer, Raymond Genco, Rose issued a statement to 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 Manfred to address my entire history -- the good and the bad -- and my long personal journey since baseball. That meeting likely will come sometime after the All-Star break. Therefore at this point, it's not appropriate to comment on any specifics."

This latest development is based on copies of pages from a notebook that was seized from the home of Michael Bertolini during a raid in October 1989. That was nearly two months after Rose had been suspended by then-Commissioner Bart Giamatti.

Per ESPN: "[The notebook's] authenticity has been verified by two people who took part in the raid, which was part of a mail fraud investigation and unrelated to gambling. For 26 years, the notebook has remained under court-ordered seal and is currently stored in the National Archives' New York office, where officials have declined requests to release it publicly."

Baseball's case against Rose was made in a report compiled by John Dowd, who subsequently said that he believed Rose's gambling, which included sports other than baseball, had mob connections but was unable to obtain the proof at the time.

Still, Giamatti and Dowd felt they had a strong enough case to suspend Rose under Rule 21, which reads: "Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible."

The notebook shows that most of the bets were for $2,000 with the largest wager, on the Boston Celtics, being for $5,500. During the worst week of the months covered, he lost $25,500.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.