BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Pete Rose still clings to hope of being reinstated by Major League Baseball someday, but he insisted that Monday night's one-game managerial stint in the Atlantic League was no more than what it was.
"I don't know if this will help with Bud Selig liking me any more,'' said Rose, baseball's all-time hits leader, who is in the 25th year of a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball. "I don't think Bud is at home watching ESPN and they're going to cut in on my game with Bridgeport.''
Rose, 73, donned a uniform -- his old No. 14 -- and served as manager and third-base coach for the Bridgeport Bluefish in a 2-0 win over Lancaster before 4,573, a season high for Bridgeport.
This skipper-for-a-day role was Rose's first time managing since he led the Reds, before his alleged gambling on games led to his banishment in August 1989 by then-commissioner Bart Giamatti. The Atlantic League is not affiliated with MLB.
Rose said he received Selig's "blessing'' in this endeavor -- in the form of a letter from MLB -- but repeatedly said this event was not an attempt to curry favor with baseball.
"I would never try to use anybody to try to get me reinstated,'' said Rose, a 17-time All-Star with 4,256 hits. "I didn't have a reason to come here and try to impress baseball or anybody else.''
Rose now makes his living mostly from autograph signings. He said Bluefish officials contacted his representatives in December to have him make an appearance and that the discussions "evolved'' into having him manage a game. Rose said he wouldn't manage full-time in the Atlantic League but said there isn't "any way in the world'' he wouldn't be open to more managerial appearances.
Rose has admitted he bet on the Reds in games while he managed the team -- baseball's cardinal offense -- but said Monday that his two conversations with Selig have "been very cordial.'' Selig, who plans to retire in January 2015, never has publicly ruled out reinstating Rose.
"I haven't given up on Bud,'' Rose said. "If I'm ever reinstated and given a second chance, I'll never need a third chance.''
But Rose said, if Selig doesn't remove the ban and the next commissioner "is Bud's best friend, you think the first thing he's gonna do is reinstate me?''
The ban, in that case, would "outlive me,'' Rose said. "I wish I could [live to] 113 and apply for reinstatement, but I'm the one that screwed up . . . Everybody would like to go to the Hall of Fame, but I'm not in control of that.''