Pete Rose previously admitted to betting on the Reds every night when he was a manager, but he has always adamantly denied that he did so as a player. An ESPN investigation by Outside the Lines, however, reports to have found clear written evidence that Rose also bet on baseball as a player.
The evidence presented by ESPN are copies of detailed, handwritten logs from his former bookie. The logs were seized as a part of an unrelated mail fraud case 26 years ago, and they were sealed under court order. The copies allegedly show that Rose bet $2,000 regularly on baseball in 1986, his final season as a player-manager for the Reds.
Rose had recently applied for reinstatement, hopeful that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would be more likely to revisit his case than his predecessor, Bud Selig. Rose is also scheduled to participate in the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
One of the reasons the distinction between gambling as a player and as a manager matters was that supporters for Rose's Hall of Fame case pointed to the lack of evidence with Rose as a player, which meant he was banned for life for transgressions committed after his playing career was over. Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were once barred from Major League Baseball because of associating with a casino, but their membership in the Hall of Fame was never in jeopardy, the argument stated. That line of defense for Rose seems to be gone now.
ESPN also talked with John Dowd, who led MLB's original investigation, and he helped put the new revelations in perspective. Why is it such a big deal that Rose gambled, even if he always bet on his team to win?
"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."
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