Thomas Gioiosa's voice cracked today as he described before a jury at his cocaine and tax-evasion trial how Pete Rose treated him like a son--getting him a job, a college scholarship, a major-league tryout and items he could never afford.
Gioiosa testified in U.S. District Court that he lived with the former Cincinnati Reds' manager for about five years, starting in late 1979. "I felt like part of the family," he said.
Gioiosa's connection with Rose underlies one of the charges in his trial--that he deceived the IRS by claiming Rose's racetrack earnings on his taxes.
Gioiosa said he met Rose through his son, Pete Jr., and that he was invited to live with Rose's family after staying at their home during the Christmas holiday season in 1979. During the five-year period, Rose took care of Gioiosa's expenses and bought him gifts, including a Jeep, according to Gioiosa.
"Pete told me, 'You never have to worry about money,' " Gioiosa said. "He just gave me money. We were at the track, he wouldn't count it, he'd just take money out and say, 'Here.' "