Newly discovered documents reveal that all-time hits leader Pete Rose bet on baseball -- including his own team -- in 1986 while serving as player-manager of the Reds, ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported Monday.
Rose always has denied betting while he was a player -- in April, he said on Michael Kay's ESPN radio show, "Never bet as a player. That's a fact" -- but the report revealed copies of entries for bets in a notebook the report said was owned by Michael Bertolini, a former known associate of Rose's.
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The entries included bets placed on Reds games in 1986, when Rose played the final 72 games of his 24-year career. According to the report, on 21 of the days he is alleged to have bet on baseball, he gambled on his own team to win, including games in which he played.
The report comes in the midst of commissioner Rob Manfred's review of Rose's request in March to be reinstated 26 years after being placed on Major League Baseball's ineligible list for betting on baseball.
"Outside the Lines" said the documents allegedly owned by Bertolini were obtained during a raid by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service nearly two months after Rose was declared permanently ineligible by MLB in 1989.
Their authenticity, according to "Outside the Lines," has been verified by two people who participated in the raid, which was part of a mail fraud investigation and unrelated to gambling. The report said the notebook has remained under court-ordered seal and is stored in the National Archives' New York office, where officials have declined requests to release it publicly.
The commissioner's office had no comment. Manfred has said he expects Rose to take part in pregame activities at the All-Star Game in Cincinnati in July. Reds spokesman Rob Butcher referred questions about that to the commissioner's office.
In a statement to ESPN by his attorney, Rose said he is looking forward to meeting with Manfred, likely after the All-Star break, and that it therefore would be "inappropriate'' to discuss any specifics now. An email to Rose's representative was not returned.
John Dowd, the former federal prosecutor whose investigation and report formed the basis of then-commissioner Bart Giamatti's lifetime ban of Rose, told "Outside the Lines": "This does it. This closes the door" on possible reinstatement.
Reached by Newsday, Dowd said Manfred is performing due diligence on Rose's request.
"Rob is doing the same thing that we did. He's just giving it an honest review and complete review," Dowd said in a phone interview. "That's the way to do his job. It's something that I endorse and employed. He's an open-minded guy and listens to everybody. His guy came in and met with me the other day and he's going to meet with other people. That's the way to do it.
"I don't think because he's open-minded and thorough that he's going to re-admit him. There's no basis to admit; he hasn't done anything. He's not a credit to the game. Why would Rob Manfred want to own this? It just makes no sense . . . They didn't fall off a hay wagon yesterday."
Dowd said he knows Manfred has a full understanding of MLB Rule 21, which states: "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."