In a new report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines, there have been documents uncovered that indicate that Pete Rose bet as a player. Rose has consistently denied ever betting on baseball as a player for the last 25 years. Here is part of the OTL report:

For 26 years, Pete Rose has kept to one story: He never bet on baseball while he was a player.

Yes, he admitted in 2004, after almost 15 years of denials, he had placed bets on baseball, but he insisted it was only as a manager.

But new documents obtained by Outside the Lines indicate Rose bet extensively on baseball — and on the Cincinnati Reds — as he racked up the last hits of a record-smashing career in 1986. The documents go beyond the evidence presented in the 1989 Dowd report that led to Rose’s banishment and provide the first written record that Rose bet while he was still on the field.

“This does it. This closes the door,” said John Dowd, the former federal prosecutor who led MLB’s investigation.


The documents obtained by Outside the Lines, which reflect betting records from March through July 1986, show no evidence that Rose, who was a player-manager in 1986, bet against his team. They provide a vivid snapshot of how extensive Rose’s betting life was in 1986:

• In the time covered in the notebook, from March through July, Rose bet on at least one MLB team on 30 different days. It’s impossible to count the exact number of times he bet on baseball games because not every day’s entries are legible.

• But on 21 of the days it’s clear he bet on baseball, he gambled on the Reds, including on games in which he played.

• Most bets, regardless of sport, were about $2,000. The largest single bet was $5,500 on the Boston Celtics, a bet he lost.

• Rose bet heavily on college and professional basketball, losing $15,400 on one day in March. That came during his worst week of the four-month span, when he lost $25,500.

There will be more about this Rose story on Outside the Lines today at 2:30 on ESPN. If this report is true, you have to believe that this would be the nail in the coffin for any chance of Rose returning to baseball, and certainly ever being elected in the MLB Hall of Fame.

Last August, the RN writers complied 25 years later another chance for Pete? We gave our opinions on if Rose should ever allowed in the HOF.

Update: Doug Gray pointed out that Pete Rose has already implied that he bet when he was a player from his book. Pete Rose last game played was August 17th 1986. If you read that page of his book closely, Rose said he bet during the 1986 playoffs, but can’t remember the first time he actually bet on baseball. That is a pretty indirect admission that he bet when he was a player. That book was published over a decade ago.

78 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    Pete Rose wrote in 2004 (My Prison Without Bars, p.123) that he bet on baseball in 1986. ESPN’s big breaking news has been known to anyone who read Pete’s book in the last 11 years. Nothing new here.

    • Nick Kirby

      I added this to the post. Nice catch by you and Doug. I had never heard of that “indirect admission” before.

    • Nick Kirby

      On OTL, they played a recent clip of Rose on the Michael Kay Radio Show, where he emphatically said that he never bet as a player. So he is still lying about this, which makes this a big deal with him seeking reinstatement.

    • Vicferrari

      I do not know the who;story apparently, but what difference if when he bet on baseball other than he lied about it at some point. It seems worse if he bet on baseball in games that he was managing since he would have more control. I always thought he bet on his team and never against it. Now is there any proof that he ever intentionally sabotaged a game he bet on either as a player or manager?
      What is the issue that this brings to light?- we know he admitted to doing something wrong and he has been penalized/punished

  2. Dr. K

    Any indication whether or not this will impact Rose’s participation in the All-Star festivities?

  3. sultanofswaff

    Addicted to drugs? Low moral fiber.
    PTSD? You’re weak.
    Cardinals fan? Shared psychotic disorder.

    This report doesn’t change anything for me. It’s 2015. If society still doesn’t understand that gambling addiction is no different than other behavior disorders that we’ve chosen to acknowledge and understand, then the problem is with us, not Pete. In 50 years when our understanding of the brain as it affects behavior is well understood, future baseball fans will roll their eyes at the way Pete was treated.

    • gaffer

      Pete was treated exacly as the rules are written. The integrity of the game is far more important than one guy. I do not watch Boxing because it is all fixed, the same would be the case with baseball is they let people bet.

    • tct

      I understand what you are saying, and I have personally been affected by addictive behaviors by members of my family. But there has to be a line somewhere. We wouldn’t let a drunk driver off the hook just because he’s an alcoholic, would we? No because that act puts other people in danger.

      In my opinion, the line as far as Pete was concerned was betting on games that he was a part of. Had he not done that, he would probably be in the HOF today. Betting on other games doesn’t hurt anybody but Pete and possibly his family.Betting on games he was a part of puts the entire sport at risk, because people want to know what they are watching is real.

      This is not an outdated rule. There were rumors of game fixing by NBA referees just last decade that hurt that sport’s credibility. Boxing has fallen off the map due in part to corruption and allegations like these.

      • jdx19

        I also think boxing has fallen off the map because a majority of the stars are despicable human beings.

    • jdx19

      Agree, Sultan. Josh Hamilton broke federal laws and he’s not in trouble at all. Pete broke a baseball rule, and he’s black listed. People can cry about the integrity of the game all they want, but this is the one thing people pick out and put a spotlight on. Lots more stuff has hurt the integrity of the game that people over looked for long periods of time and still do.

      Personally, I don’t care if Pete bet UNLESS he bet against the Reds. The OTL article explicity states there is no evidence that he bet against the Reds, but I’m smart enough to understand that where there is smoke, there might be fire. It’s fine if he never gets into the HOF, because he did break the rules, but he’ll remained beloved in Cincy I’m sure.

  4. gaffer

    This changes nothing, Pete is banned from baseball for life. He has lied time and again, and there is no “degree” of betting on baseball. He wasn’t going to get reinstated anyway.

    • BigRedMachine

      Yeah! I mean when I go to Cooperstown I don’t want my viewing of memorabilia from PED users, wife beaters, cokeheads, and racists to be sullied by stuff from one of them gamblers.

      (Yes I know that Rose memorabilia is already on display. Which makes the ban all the more pointless.)

      • gaffer

        There is and has been only 1 rule that will get you banned from baseball for the last 95 years. I am not giving any opinion on Rose or baseball or social morays, just facts. But I do hope PED users are banned in the furture too.

      • BigRedMachine

        I realize that. Just saying that needs to be reviewed and changed. If we are going to celebrate ARod getting 3000 hits while cheating 100x harder than Rose ever did, then that is unjust.

      • Vicferrari

        BRM is spot on (meaning I am totally in tune with the excellent sarcasm)

  5. Jeremy Conley

    Baseball’s obsession with gambling is over-the-top and sees so antiquated now days.

    MLB is vocal partners with Draft Kings, which is just online gambling on baseball. MLB owners, players, and media were silent for decades about amphetamines and steroids, which can actually impact the game on the field. But Pete Rose gambling on some baseball games, that’s a lifetime ban?

    Unless they can point to a game where something fishy happened, I don’t care at all. In fact, I think all players and managers should have to bet a portion of their salary on their teams, or their individual performances. Oh wait, most already to, they just call them “contract incentives.”

    There’s no rhyme or reason to the infractions that MLB cares about or the punishments they hand out.

    • greenmtred

      Jeremy: I’m pretty sure that the strict rules against gambling were a result of the 1919 World Series. People have argued for years about how much the Sox helped the Reds win that one, but what seems undeniable is that perceptions are important. Few people view pro “wrestling” as a sport, and no serious sport would want to be viewed the way wrestling is viewed. It would be difficult to prove that fishy things happening were the direct result of players betting, but the suspicions would be very damaging to the game. Better to keep the ban in place, in my opinion.

  6. seat101

    I believe Mr. Rose accepted a lifetime ban from baseball. Correct?

    So he’s changed his mind. Quelle surprise.

    Right now, he serves as a wonderful cautionary tale for anyone thinking about playing/managing in professional baseball and betting on it at the same time.

    Do the crime, do the time.

      • jessecuster44

        Howe was a drug user who was banned from the game, yet somehow was able to be reinstated.

      • whereruklu

        Howe was a 7 time loser. Yet baseball continued to let him in. With all of the questionable characters already in the Hall, the Pete thing gives one to pause.

  7. TJ Fraley

    I still don’t understand how betting for your team to win is worse than steroids. As long as he didnt bet againsy the Reds then this changes nothing for me.

    • vegastypo

      It’s a big minefield. “As long as he didn’t bet against the Reds” only takes us so far. If Rose bet ON the Reds on three straight days, for example, and then DIDN’T bet on the Reds on the next day, it begs the question of why. … Is Rose going to go to further extremes to win on a day when he has bet ON the team? And could fans expect any different of his managing in trying to win games that he DIDN’T bet on? It would be part of the “integrity of the game” that is talked about.

      No bigger fan of Rose on this website than me, but we have to look at this from all angles. I hate the whole mess.

      • Jeremy Conley

        what is the problem with Rose betting on his team some days and not others? Who is possibly hurt by him not betting?

      • lwblogger2

        As Vegastypo says above, it begs the question of rather or not Rose managed differently in those games? Did he run his pitcher out there for another inning or two? Did he blow out his bullpen? Did he rest guys on days that he didn’t place a bet so he could play them the next day when he knew he was going to place a bet? At what lengths would he go to win a game in which he bet on? Would he put so much into it so as to perhaps mortgage the next couple days? Look, I hate the whole PED thing too but gambling on baseball carries penalties that are very clear in every clubhouse.

      • lwblogger2

        Possibly at the expense of other games, yes. Betting for your team is certainly better than betting against your team and bringing in the possibility of games actually being thrown. That said, what Rose did was still hugely wrong. A lot of people really don’t seem to see the problem but those of us who feel that it is a problem definitely see one.

        I don’t want Pete Rose back in baseball. His enshrinement into the HoF is another matter entirely in my book.

      • Steelerfan

        Well the team if he burns the bullpen or otherwise plays people to win those games. And the explicitly or implicitly sends signals he will not do it in games he is not betting on.

        Not saying any of this entered his thought process, but I it is such a tar pit that I think the ban is appropriate.

      • Jeremy Conley

        No, I don’t see a problem unless he threw games intentionally. If bad bullpen management got you a lifetime ban, MLB would be pretty low on managers by now.

        From everything I’ve ever seen of Pete Rose he a) really likes to win, b) really likes the Reds, and c) was addicted to gambling. Those three things are not mutually exclusive. I think Pete liked to win so much that he bet on his team to win so he could win twice.

        I honestly don’t even care that much about Pete Rose. What I care about is the principle. I hate rules for the sake of rules, and a set of rules that punishes some but not others. As far as I can tell, Pete Rose never did anything to upset the competition on the field of baseball except try harder than anyone else.

        Until someone shows a compelling case that he did something to unfairly change the outcome of a baseball game, he doesn’t even make it to the level of an amphetamine user in my book, which would be a 15 game suspension I believe.

      • lwblogger2

        Christopher Russo was talking about this on Hot Pitch yesterday. Your stance is in line with his almost perfectly. Some other talking heads agreed with him while some others didn’t… I disagree with it, but there are apparently a lot of people who share your view.

      • Nick Kirby

        There is definitely something wrong with betting on your team to win as a manager. I honestly think that is worse than betting as a player. For instance if Pete bet on a game, and his team is up 4 runs in the 9th inning, he still might use his best reliever. However, if he isn’t betting on his team he probably uses a second tier reliever because baseball is a long 162 game season. This is a very slippery slope, and most importantly the #1 rule in the MLB for their players/managers is not to gamble on the sport. I don’t understand one bit how people defend Rose. He is a cheater and an embarrassment to the city.

      • wkuchad

        Cheater or rule-breaker? I can see calling all the PEDs users cheaters, but not sure about Pete. However there’s no denying he broke the rules.

      • Vicferrari

        I do not think there are many people denying that betting on baseball is wrong. The lifetime ban might be debatable, but is there any significant issue that changes your argument either way with this “Breaking news” revelation?

    • Andrewpky

      The notebook showed he best against the Reds.

      • Vicferrari

        I have seen many reports on the notebook today and not one seems to expose this significant issue, to me this would be news as it is my understanding there has never been any proof he bet on the Reds but I am not aware of everything

  8. RiverCity Redleg

    I don’t neccessarily like it, but I have no problem with Pete being banned from from baseball and all baseball activity for what he did. HOWEVER, I do have a problem with him not being in the Hall of Fame. Why can’t those things be mutually exclusive? Even if he is not allowed to attend the ceremony, there is no reason he shouldn’t be in the Hall. His performance on the fields demands it.

    • Paul

      Exactly what I’ve been saying for years.

    • lwblogger2

      This I can be on board with. That “Pete Rose rule” that the HoF instituted AFTER Rose’s ban is what needs to be addressed.

      • concepcion13

        Exactly! In law it’s called an Ex Post Facto law – you can’t create a law after an event occurs and then prosecute someone for their action that occurred BEFORE the law was enacted.. The Hall was trying to cover itself from embarrassment & made thing worse.

    • Steelerfan

      Amen. the trust issue warrants a permanent ban, but at least let his case go to the hall.

      Not that I am optimistic they will vote him in, but give it the shot.

  9. HerpyDerp

    Rule is clear as day betting cannot be done and what the penalty is. However, the rule itself is incredibly stupid. It’s pretty similar to how I feel about the OSU football players selling their own memorabilia/gear/jerseys/whatever a few years back and got in trouble. The rule is very straightforward, but I think the rule is stupid that they can’t something they own.

    • greenmtred

      I get what you’re saying about dumb rules, but I don’t believe the two examples you cite are equivalent. Selling memorabilia has no conceivable effect on the outcome of a game. Gambling might, whether it did in Pete’s case or not.

  10. Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

    I don’t think he would have gotten reinstated anytime soon even with all the momentum he seemed to be gaining for it but this to me will quiet the talk of it for a little bit longer. He has done nothing but hurt his case just because he’s decided to lie and try to hide things for so long. Pete Rose was a fantastic baseball player that deserves to be in the hall of fame. Pete Rise the person though doesn’t seem to be such a great person. He will never get put in the Hall while he’s alive and while that seems harsh it’s only fair. He’s done nothing to help himself at all.

  11. WVRedlegs

    This from an article in USA Today sports. “ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” said it obtained a notebook seized by U.S. Postal Inspection Service in October 1989 from Rose associate Michael Bertolini, which reflect betting records from March to July 1986. The documents are under seal and stored in the National Archives’ New York office, ESPN said.”
    If the documents are under seal, how did ESPN get their hands on them?
    Who gave ESPN documents that are under seal by a US District judge? Documents seized by federal law enforcement officers,are evidence from a federal investigation and are under a court order seal, somehow end up at ESPN?
    The questions should be, Did whomever leaked these documents commit a crime by leaking documents from under seal of a US federal judge?
    Did ESPN commit any crimes by obtaining these documents? Did they pay for them? Are these documents now considered stolen property? Paying for stolen property is a felony in most states when you know that property to be stolen. Stealing federal property is a federal crime.
    With ESPN involved, something fishy is up and it smells bad.

  12. George Mirones

    The discussion of Rose is a grass roots event. Does anyone in Omaha, New Orleans, or anywhere else really care, add this to ESPN talking heads only looking for viewership and you get negative results because in their minds, Boston, New York are the only markets that count.

    • CP

      I work with people around the country and they generally think Pete Rose is a joke and people from Cincinnati are crazy in their continued support of him.

      I can’t say they’re wrong.

      • George Mirones

        Yes CP there is life in other states and they even play baseball indoors at some places, but you know that, you have broken the bonds of colloquialism. 🙂

      • Tom Reed

        Pete Rose in the record book is not a joke.

  13. Steve Mancuso

    Pete had an OBP of .395 in 501 plate appearances in 1985. At age 44.

    • jdx19

      Hmmm. Think Votto can pull that feat at 41 at the end of his contract? If so, he may get into the Hall before Pete.

  14. seat101

    The idea that Pete Rose “implied” that he had been on baseball as a player and therefore now it’s old news and doesn’t add anything to the discussion reminds me of politicians who keep denying, denying, and denying for ages, then they give a partial admission say it’s old news anyway. This is exactly like that

  15. Indy Red Man

    I’m sure there are tons of former Reds that should’ve been forced to bet on the Reds to win as a motivational tool but the one I can think of off the top of my head is Edwin Scissorhands. If they forced that lazy stiff to bet $5k on each Reds game then he would’ve hit 35 hrs for us and found a place to play passable D as well.

    • Jeremy Conley

      Or maybe the Reds should have just moved him to first base and gotten a better hitting coach?

      • lwblogger2

        I agree. EE’s demeanor is exactly the same in Toronto as it was in Cincy. It wasn’t laziness that was holding him back. It was experience and being in a position where he really wasn’t suited. The guy is an adequate 1B and good DH. He also matured. He was still relatively young when the Reds traded him.

  16. Evan armstrong

    So tired of this crap. MLB uses Pete when ever it financially serves them. Reinstate him or ban him but stop this HYPOCRISY.

  17. Tom Reed

    Old news made to look like new news three weeks before the ASG in Cincy.

    • seat101

      This is news. I have followed this case very closely from the start. And I never heard a word of him having bet on baseball as a player.

      I have heard him deny that he bet on baseball as a player.

      Apparently, he was lying


  18. Victor Vollhardt

    Pete Rose was one of the greatest players ever and all of his records in the books will forever stand with no taint to any of them.The way he played between the white lines is still the way the game should be played and pointed out to every young player as the way to do it. His opinions as to players and teams and how the game should be played should be respected to the up most degree.His current position in baseball society should forever remain where it is at this moment. We (and MLB) need to take no steps to alter it in any way—it should remain in it’s current status. The case is closed and has been for many years.

  19. old-school

    Pete is a convicted felon, gambler, and pathologic liar. This isn’t news. He should be banned from being employed by any MLB team. However, constantly retrying him in episode after episode of double jeopardy is not right. He is absolutely a Hall of Famer for what he did on the field and this is undeniable. There are many in the Hall who are equally shady characters and who have equally sketchy pasts. This is all coming out now to assure all debate is ended. MLB won’t allow Pete to stand up in Cooperstown and give a speech and be honored. That would be too awkward for the PR police and the MLB brand. Ultimately, the fans need to shame MLB and protest the Hall of Fame. Its not the Hall of Fame if Pete isn’t there. Period.

    • vegastypo

      It’s amazingly bad how so many ‘greats’ of the game have black marks….Rose, Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa. … That’s the hit king, the home run king, a 7-time Cy Young winner, the sluggers who ‘brought baseball back’ after a damaging labor stoppage… I wonder how many people currently in the Hall of Fame would have been inducted if their private lives and transgressions weren’t swept under the rug.

      • greenmtred

        It’s a good point, but as with the discussion of ped use, getting caught is what sets things in motion. The defense that other guys did it, too, really doesn’t wash. Not all murderers get caught and punished, but that isn’t a reason to let the ones who do get caught go free. I agree with many here: Pete should be in the Hall because of his indisputable accomplishments as a player, but should not be given a role in the current game. The rule against gambling is not capricious and stupid.

      • jdx19

        Absolutely right. I’d conservatively estimate that at least 15% of the people in the HOF were terrible, horrible people off the field.

  20. GeorgeFoster

    I’ve believed all along that Pete could have granted a ‘very special’ interview with Barbara Walters or Oprah, given a heartfelt admission of his gambling addiction, and sought forgiveness from America. I have little doubt that the media and public would have eaten it up and Pete would likely be in the HOF now.

    Any such admission coming from Pete, however, would have been insincere. Being the ultimate competitor is what made Pete great, but that same quality made it impossible for him to admit weakness and seek help in a show of public contrition. I think it’s unfair that we now hold this aspect of his character against him. We revelled in his performances for more than two decades, cheering for his obsessive competitiveness, but we now brook no quarter when it’s quite clear that his strength and flaw are one and the same.

    • big5ed

      I pretty much agree with this. For many people, their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. The qualities, for example, that can make a man a good businessman sometimes make him a lousy dad, and vice versa. Others are loyal to a fault, etc., etc.

      • greenmtred

        I think that your comment is perceptive, and largely agree, but it does veer uncomfortably close to saying that the ends justify the means, something I cannot agree with.

  21. jim t

    I grew up sitting in the stands at Crosley Field. When Pete played my dad would always turn and say if you want to know how to play the game watch that guy. For a lesson on how to play i always watched Pete but that was as far as it went.

    Those days sitting in the stands with my dad were mixed with good times and bad. My Father was a compulsive gambler. Anyone growing up in the 50’s and 60’s living in this town could bet on anything.Covington,Newport and Cincinnati were wide open towns in those days. Pin ball machines that paid off were everywhere. Guys would lose their paychecks playing those things.Walk into any pony keg or bar in newport and you could find tote boards filled with race tracks and sports betting info. This is where Pete came from and where he lived. I sold newpapers at River Downs as a youngster. Pete was there every chance he could make it. Of course Pete bet on baseball. I did not need this info to come out to know that.He should serve his lifetime ban. He should let his punishment serve as a reminder that rules are put in place for a reason if nothing else.Comparing his misdeeds to others is pointless. My hope is that one day he gets help with his problem and moves on. Those supporting him should quit enabling him.

  22. Andrewpky

    I would’ve forgiven betting on his own team if it was always to win. However, the notebook shows he bet against the Reds several times.

    • jdx19


      The OTL article I READ explicity states there is NO evidence showing he bet against the Reds.

  23. daytonnati

    I have veered back and forth on this for the past 25 years. Pete was my childhood sports hero. I was fortunate enough to live through the entire Big Red Machine era. I believe you can tell one bald-faced lie and receive forgiveness if you ask. But to follow that up with another? Well, “fool me once, shame on you … fool me twice …?”

    There was one comment I read somewhere during the past 24 hours that has stayed with me, and it is one that I had never really considered prior. Since Pete was banned, there has not been another instance of a player or a manager gambling on baseball. That doesn’t mean that it is not happening, and they have not been caught yet, but it has been 26 years. It is a rule that seems to have been abused once since 1919, and the perpetrator was caught and is now paying the price.

    Can we expect the “Sorry I bet on baseball as a player” autographed ball soon? Ah, that’ll be $300, please.

    • whereruklu

      As much as I like Pete, his hawking of his autograph just about anywhere bothers me. When he pens stuff like, “I’m sorry I split up the Beatles”, “I’m sorry I didn’t shoot Bin Laden”, and such ramblings it upsets me that he might actually be defaming the very game that he loves. I don’t think he’s intentionally doing it, he’s just not using his head. Kinda like gambling. It used to be that if someone had a Pete Rose autographed ball it was special. Now just about every baseball collector has one or two, some with stupid stuff written on it. As for “Fool me one, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”? One name…Braun. Can we say different standards for different players?

      • jdx19

        He’s certainly an ‘interesting dude’… he hit on my Mom in Vegas when she got a bat signed for me. I was mad at first then though, ahh, well… that’s Pete…