(Rose signs autographs for his book. Photo by Gregory Bull, AP Photos)
1/08/2004 - Rose comes clean
Pete Rose's tell-all memoir, My Prison Without Bars, is released to bookstores everywhere. In the book, Rose, who steadfastly denied for 14 years that he had ever bet on baseball, admitted that he had done just that. The only aspects of the Dowd Report that Rose denied were the claims that he bet against the Cincinnati Reds and the claim that he bet on an almost daily basis. Three years later, Rose would redact the second part of his denial and admitted that he bet on the Reds to, "every night."
Rose was undoubtedly one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He retired with an all-time record 4,256 hits and played the game with suck reckless enthusiasm that he was easily the most popular player of his era. He ran to first on walks, always slid head-first and was generally the prototype for what an athlete should be.
However, his achievements were overshadowed by his gambling afflictions. In 1989, he was banned from Major League Baseball for allegedly betting on the game and was thus ineligible for the Hall of Fame. For over a decade, the debate raged whether or not Rose should be eligible for the Hall, with some arguing that his misdeeds were too great and others arguing he was too good to be kept out. Many who opposed it agreed that if and when Rose ever admitted to gambling on the Reds -- his longtime team -- all would be forgiven.
It didn't exactly turn out that way.
Rose's perception did not improve by coming clean. Many felt he came off as unapologetic for his brazen admission after a decade worth of lying and that doing it through a book was a cheap way to make a buck. The timing of it was criticized as well as it came just days before the 2004 Hall of Fame inductees were to be announced. In the end, what people really wanted was for Rose to apologize for putting money ahead of the sanctity of the game. But not only did Rose fail to show repentance, he made it clear in his book that as much as he loved the game of baseball, he loved gambling even more.
When the next Hall of Fame vote came around, Rose received even fewer write-in votes than usual.
Still lying after all these years [Dave Kindred]