Pages from a long-hidden notebook published on Monday by ESPN’s Outside the Lines show Pete Rose bet on baseball as a player, contradicting his long-standing claim that he bet only as a manager.
Rose, a 17-time All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds and later the team’s manager, admitted in 2004 that he had placed bets on baseball as a manager. That admission came after nearly 15 years of denials. As recently as April, Rose—Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader with 4,256—repeated that he never bet as a player in a radio interview with ESPN New York.
The documents obtained by Outside the Lines reveal more information than what was presented in the 1989 report by John Dowd, the former federal prosecutor who led the MLB investigation that eventually led to Rose’s banishment from the sport in August 1989.
The documents are copies of notebook pages seized from the home of Michael Bertolini, a former Rose associate, by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in October 1989. The notebook has remained sealed by a court order and is currently stored in the National Archives office in New York.
The pages show that Rose bet on at least one MLB team on 30 different days, and on 21 of those days it is clear that he bet on baseball and on the Reds, including on games in which he played.
Dowd had been unable to obtain Bertolini’s notebook during his 1989 investigation, although Rose eventually agreed to his permanent ban under MLB 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.”
Dowd told Outside the Lines the notebook shows Rose placed bets with mob-connected bookies through Bertolini.
“Bertolini nails down the connection to organized crime on Long Island and New York. And that is a very powerful problem,” Dowd said. “[Ohio bookie] Ron Peters is a golf pro, so he’s got other occupations. But the boys in New York are about breaking arms and knees.
“The implications for baseball are terrible. [The mob] had a mortgage on Pete while he was a player and manager.”
In March, Rose, now 73, applied for reinstatement under new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. Outside the Lines reported that Dowd has met with John McHale Jr., the MLB CIO and executive vice president of administration who is handling the review of Rose’s reinstatement request.
Rare Photos of Pete Rose
Here's a look back at Pete Rose, who made his Major League debut on April 8, 1963. Rose, a switch hitter, is the all-time Major League leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and outs (10,328). On Monday, June 22, 2015, ESPN revealed documents that showed Rose bet on baseball games as a player--something that he had always denied.
Pete Rose broke into the big leagues in 1963 and became a star in 1965, when he led the league in hits (209) and at-bats (670), finishing sixth in the NL MVP race.
Rose started the 1968 season with a 22-game hit streak and never slowed down, winning the first of three batting titles with an average of .335.
Pete Rose and Johnny Bench pose in the dugout during spring training in Tampa, Fla.
Rose shows off his trademark hustle during a spring training drill. By the start of the 1972 season, Rose was entering his 10th year with the Reds. He had also established himself as one of the game's best hitters, maintaining an average above .300 for seven straight years.
Rose poses during a SI cover shoot after leading the Reds to a World Series championship.
Rose was the backbone of the Big Red Machine due to his hustle (including head-first slides) and his consistency at the plate.
Rose with Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan of "The Big Red Machine."
Rose shows off his World Series ring outside the Plaza Hotel in New York. The 1976 Reds swept the Yankees 4-0 in the World Series and became the only team since the expansion of the playoffs (in 1969) to go undefeated in the postseason.
Rose is honored at Shea Stadium after breaking the National League record for most consecutive games with a hit (44).
Rose fans clamor for his autograph.
Rose was one of Cincinnati's most popular athletes, as evident by his bulging mailbox at Riverfront Stadium.
In 1979, the Phillies made Rose the highest-paid athlete in team sports when they signed him to a four-year, $3.2 million contract as a free agent. In Philadelphia, Rose joined a core of Larry Bowa, Mike Schmidt and Manny Trillo. The Phillies would go on to win the World Series the following season.
Rose tweaks the chin of six-year-old Mark McGraw as some of the Phillies and their sons got together during a spring training workout at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Fla. From left are Petey Rose, Mark McGraw, Aaron Boone and Brett Boone. Pitcher Tug McGraw (left) and catcher Bob Boone stand above the group.
"Charlie Hustle" in action with the Phillies during a game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Rose and son Pete Jr. sit in the Phillies dugout. Though the Phillies reached the World Series in 1983, the season was a disappointment for Rose, who batted just .245 and lost his role as everyday starter.
In 1984, Rose was given his release from the Phillies after he refused to accept a reserve role. He was signed to a one-year deal by the Expos.
Rose tries on a Padres hat for size during a portrait session early in the 1984 season.
Despite his advanced age (43), Rose stayed in great shape and was traded to the Reds for infielder Tom Lawless in August 1984. He batted .365 for the remainder of the season.
After being traded to the Reds, Rose took on the role of player-manager and led the team to a 19-22 record the remainder of the season.
Rose takes notes before a Reds-Dodgers game at Riverfront Stadium.
Rose plays around with his one-year-old son, Tyler, before a game. By 1985, Rose had divorced his first wife (Kaarolyn Englehardt) and married Carol J. Woliung. The pair had Tyler shortly after their marriage.
Rose and Carol Woliung play with Tyler at their home in Cincinnati.
Rose lets the world know that he is No. 1 after connecting for his 4,192nd career base hit, breaking Ty Cobb's all-time record.
Rose chats with Tommy Lasorda before a Reds-Dodgers game at Riverfront Stadium.
Despite his success on the field, Rose is best known for his banishment from baseball for gambling. The ruling came after the 225-page Dowd Report, which showed that Rose bet on Reds game while serving as the team's manager. Rose steadfastly denied these charges until 2004, when he published his autobiography,
My Prison Without Bars,
and confirmed the charges.
Rose found fame in the WWE, where he made several cameos and "feuded" with Kane, wrestling's version of The Big Red Machine. In 2004, Rose was inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Pete Rose tips his cap after being announced to the MLB All-Century team. It was Rose's first appearance at an official baseball event since he was banished from the game in 1988.
Rose autographs his book Pete Rose My Prison Without Bars during an appearance at Bookends Bookstore in Ridgewood, N.J. The publication of the book marked the first time Rose admitted publicly to betting on baseball games and other sports while playing for and managing the Reds.
Rose's quest to gain entry into the Hall of Fame has been an ongoing plotline. In this poster, Pony (a company Rose endorses) asks the question on the minds of many Rose fans.
Rose poses with Carol Woliung and daughter Chea at a concert in in Los Angeles.
Rose, Verne Troyer and Michael Clarke Duncan at Steve Garvey's Celebrity Softball Game for ALS.
Rose with his girlfriend, Playboy model Kiana Kim.
Rose sits in the crowd during the boxing fights, including Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, Calif.
Rose tips his cap to the crowd as he walks onto the field during ceremonies honoring the starting eight of the 1975 and '76 World Champion Cincinnati Reds following a game between the Reds and Dodgers in Cincinnati.
Rose hugs former teammate, Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, as their team is honored in Cincinnati. PETE ROSE: An American Dilemma Book by SI's Kostya Kennedy
Shortly after Rose asked Manfred for reinstatement, Dowd said in an interview that his lifetime ban should remain upheld.
“This [gambling] is just such a terrible business... it really does infect the game,” Dowd told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“Pete committed the capital crime of baseball. But this is bigger than just Pete Rose. There is a reason we haven’t had another gambling case in 26 years. This case wasn’t about Pete—this case was about protecting the integrity of the game.”
In April, Manfred said Rose would be allowed to participate in some activities during the All-Star break in Cincinnati. The All-Star Game will be played July 14 at the Reds’ Great American Ball Park.
- Mike Fiammetta