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Pete Rose slithers to lower depths

WLWT Cincinnati
Happier times for Pete Rose during his statue dedication outside Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park last June.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Pete Rose is one of sports’ biggest scumbags. I have to put him in second place behind O.J. Simpson. Now, Charlie Hustle and the Juice have resurfaced in the news the past two weeks.

Simpson, convicted nine years ago for an armed heist involving two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel, was granted parole two weeks ago. He is scheduled to be released on October 1. And, of course, his acquittal of the murders of his wife, Nicole, and her friend Ronald Goldman in the 1990s is questionable.

This week, an allegation has surfaced that Rose, nicknamed “Charlie Hustle,” has hustled an underage girl. According to testimony submitted last Monday in a Philadelphia court filing, a woman admitted she had a sexual relationship with Rose when she was 14 or 15 years old in the 1970s. The 76-year-old Rose admitted having sex with the woman beginning when she was 16, the age of consent in Ohio. At the time, Rose was in his mid-30s and married with two children.

The woman, who was identified as Jane Doe in the court filing, said that Rose called her in 1973 when she was 14 or 15 and that they had a sexual relationship in Cincinnati that lasted for several years.

Rose’s lawyer, Ray Genco, said the woman’s claims were unverified and, “just a distraction.”

Gambling and tax cheating

Rose was banned in 1989 from Major League Baseball for admitting to gambling on baseball games when he was a player for the Cincinnati Reds and later when he was the team’s manager. He voluntarily accepted the ban, and subsequently, has been denied a vote into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Last year, he petitioned the Hall of Fame to permit his name to be submitted for induction, saying that he had not expected to be prevented from Hall of Fame consideration when agreeing to the lifetime ban. No such luck.

The all-time Major League hits leader played for Cincinnati from 1963-78, and after brief stints with Philadelphia and Montreal, he returned to play for the Reds in 1984-86. Two years ago, ESPN reported that it had obtained copies of pages from a spiral notebook kept by Michael Bertolini, a former Rose associate who recorded bets that Rose made from March to July of 1986. In that period, the notebook showed that Rose bet on at least one Major League Baseball team on 30 different days. He wagered on the Reds, and there was no proof that he bet against them.

Rose admitted on ESPN’s Dan Patrick Show in 2007 that he, “bet on my team every night. I didn’t bet on my team four nights a week. I bet on my team to win every night because I loved my team, I believed in my team”, he said. “I did everything in my power every night to win that game.”

Attorney John Dowd, special counsel for the MLB, investigated Rose in 1989 for the gambling charges. Dowd said in a radio interview two years ago that Bertolini, an associate of Rose, told investigators that he “ran young girls” to Rose during spring training.

“Michael Bertolini, you know, told us that he not only ran bets but he ran young girls for him down at spring training, ages 12 to 14,” Dowd said. “Isn’t that lovely? So that’s statutory rape every time you do that.”

Bertiloni was a memorabilia dealer who revealed details about Rose’s gambling practices.

“He has Bertolini running young women down in Florida for his satisfaction, so you know he’s not worthy of consideration (to the Hall of Fame) or to be a part of the game,” Dowd said. “This is not what we want to be in the game of baseball.”

Rose filed a lawsuit last year alleging that comments Dowd made during multiple radio comments in 2015 were false and defamatory. The lawsuit was dismissed last month.

A sworn statement by the woman came to light in Dowd’s defense in the defamation lawsuit.

In 1990, Rose pleaded guilty to filing false income-tax returns and was sentenced to five months in a Federal correctional institution.

Rose was scheduled to appear in Philadelphia this weekend for the Phillies’ Alumni Weekend August 10-13. Rose played for Philadelphia from 1979-83. The Phillies’ organization released a statement that “due to recent events” their planned tribute to him has been canceled. Phillies fans had voted Rose to be inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame.

“While I am truly honored that the Phillies fans voted for me to be this year’s Wall of Fame inductee, I am concerned that other matters will overshadow the goodwill associated with Alumni Weekend, and I agree with the decision not to participate,” Rose said in a statement.

Rose made four All-Star appearances and helped the Phillies to one of their two world championships during his five seasons in Philadelphia from 1979 to ’83.

Rose has been a studio analyst for FOX Sports baseball broadcasts the past two years. Bill Reiter of called for his firing.

“The latest, and utterly disturbing, news about Pete Rose warrants no response other than this one: He must be held accountable in whatever way, by whatever power and to whatever extent that all these years later remains possible,” Reiter wrote on his blog.

“Which means Fox Sports has to fire him. Today.”

Lance McAlister, WLW radio sportscaster, in Cincinnati, was scheduled to interview Rose about the passing of Lee May, who was Rose’s teammate from 1965-71. May died on July 29. McAlister had to cancel the interview after hearing today’s news about the sexual allegation.

“I will admit up front this has been a very difficult and uncomfortable day for me,” McAlister told WLWT-TV, an NBC affiliate in Cincinnati. “I have not been this uncomfortable in what I do since 1989, the day that Pete Rose was banned from baseball.

“Honestly it makes me feel dirty. I’m the father of a 15-year-old daughter, and the father of a 17-year-old son and I got to tell you I was not looking forward to asking Pete Rose about sexual relationships with a 16-year-old because I not only can’t imagine it, I can’t stomach it.”

If these latest allegations are true, Pete Rose is lower than a snake’s belly.

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About the Author

Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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