Cincinnati Reds Manager Pete Rose, one of the greatest players in the history of baseball and holder of 19 major league records, was banned for life today for betting on his own team--a charge he continued to deny.
Under the rules of baseball, Rose can appeal for reinstatement after one year, but baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti said, "There is absolutely no deal for reinstatement. That is exactly what we did not agree to in terms of a fixed number of years."
The man they called "Charlie Hustle" became the 15th person banned for life in baseball history and the first since 1943. No one banned for life ever has been reinstated.
The suspension today ended six months of allegations involving one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
"In the absence of a hearing and in absence of evidence to the contrary . . . yes, I have concluded that he bet on baseball," Giamatti said today at a news conference announcing the suspension, which was effective immediately.
Asked directly if he concluded that Rose bet on his own team, Giamatti said, "Yes."
At a news conference in Cincinnati, Rose continued to deny the charges against him. "Despite what the commissioner said today, I didn't bet on baseball," he said.
But he admitted that he bet on other sports. "I made some mistakes and I'm being punished for mistakes," he said.
"As you can imagine, this is a very sad day," Rose said. "I've been in baseball three decades, and to think I'm going to be out of baseball for a very short period of time hurts." Rose said he plans to appeal after the required one-year period.
He called the settlement fair and said he regrets only "that I won't have the opportunity to tell my side of the story." Rose also agreed to drop his federal lawsuit against Giamatti.
'A Sorry Episode'
The agreement announced in a statement from the commissioner's office said that Rose "neither denies nor admits that he bet on any major league baseball game" but that Rose "acknowledges that the commissioner has a factual basis to impose the penalty provided."
"The banishment for life of Pete Rose from baseball is the sad end of a sorry episode," Giamatti said in the statement. "One of the game's greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts.
"There had not been such grave allegations since the time of Landis," the statement said in a reference to Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the commissioner who suspended for life the Chicago White Sox players involved in the Black Sox scandal after the 1919 World Series.
There was no mention in the agreement, which was signed Wednesday by Giamatti and Rose, that the manager would undergo counseling for gambling. There was also no mention of whether the suspension would keep Rose from being inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.
Giamatti said of counseling or gambling rehabilitation: "We have not required it. It seems to be entirely in Mr. Rose's hands."
Rose said he didn't consider it necessary because "I don't think I have a gambling problem at all."
Rose agreed to a stipulation dismissing his lawsuit against Giamatti in federal court in Ohio.
Rose had tried to head off suspension by suing Giamatti in state court in Cincinnati on June 19, claiming that the first-year commissioner had prejudged the case. Six days later a judge blocked Giamatti from holding a hearing on the gambling allegations.
John Dowd, a special investigator, gave Giamatti a 225-page report on May 9 outlining the evidence on Rose's gambling. It included telephone and bank records, betting sheets allegedly in his handwriting and the testimony of Paul Janszen and Ronald Peters, former associates of Rose who have been convicted of federal felonies.
Several sources said Rose's legal team felt a need to settle the case after U.S. District Judge John D. Holschuh ruled July 31 in Columbus, Ohio, that the federal courts had jurisdiction rather than the state judge. Rose had faced a federal court hearing Monday on his challenge to Giamatti.
Rose, 48, denied having bet on baseball when he was first summoned on gambling charges by then-Commissioner Peter Ueberroth on Feb. 20. Three days later, baseball hired Dowd and began the investigation, which cost about $1 million.
Over the months, the charges multiplied. Janszen said that Rose had an associate, Tommy Gioiosa, claim the winnings from a $47,646 pari-mutuel ticket at a horse-racing track in 1987 and that Gioiosa gave the money back to Rose.
Gioiosa has been indicted for his alleged participation, and jury selection in his trial was scheduled to begin today in Cincinnati. Rose, who denied involvement, is under investigation by a federal grand jury in Cincinnati for this and other income tax matters.
FEW TEARS FOR ROSE--Baseball figures lamented the threat to baseball and there was little sympathy for Rose. Page 8