In the history of baseball, few, if any, players have been as controversial as Pete Rose. While Rose was one of the more dynamic players in the history of the game, his legacy has been clouded by his admission he bet on games while he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. That admission might not prove to be the biggest blemish on his reputation.

Pants on fire

For years, momentum built for Rose to be reinstated into baseball and to be admitted into baseball's Hall of Fame. Rose's lifetime ban went into effect on August 24, 1989. After the ban went into effect, Rose repeatedly said the man who put together the report that provided the basis for Rose to be banned, John Dowd, was a liar.

For years, Rose said he didn't bet on baseball. Then, in 2004, Rose admitted he bet on his own team when peddling a book he had written. I always wondered how you could call a guy a liar for years and then say, never mind, it was me that was lying and not at least apologize. It seems like defamation of character.

It gets worse

Fast forward to 2015. The author of the Dowd Report, John Dowd, in an interview with a radio station, said that Michael Bertolini ran not only bets, but young girls ages 12-14 to Rose in spring training.

Is a poor defense worse than no defense?

Rose vehemently denied the allegations. One woman has come forward and said she and Rose had sexual relations before she was 16. Rose's defense?

He thought she was 16. He also said they only had sex in Ohio. That's important. In Ohio, the age of consent was 16. In Florida, it's 18. Apparently, that's Rose's version of the home field advantage. When Rose was involved with the young girl, he was 34, married and had two kids. Rose might not have been guilty of statutory rape, but it does seem like felony sleaze.


I have some questions about all this. Some time ago I wrote an article about the argument against Rose going into the Hall of Fame. I mentioned that I thought one reason Rose agreed to the ban was there was a lot more baseball had on Rose than they made known. It wouldn't be in the interest of Rose or baseball to let the public know everything.

Unsettling questions

Did baseball know that Rose was allegedly involved with under aged girls? It would seem that way. Was the statute of limitations up on all those cases? Did the Cincinnati Reds know about this alleged activity? If so wouldn't the Reds and Baseball have some culpability? No doubt it would be a bad look for baseball's all time hits leader to be a child molester.

Given Rose's gregarious personality and arrogance, would he have kept his sexual activity to himself? Is he the only ballplayer guilty of that sort of thing?

What became of our hero? So, what's that intrepid pursuer of truth, John Dowd, up to these days? He's Donald Trump's lawyer. It's hard to feel good about any of this.