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Pete Rose's Petition

Will the Internet help put Pete Rose in baseball's Hall of Fame?

The answer is maybe.

Banned from baseball 10 years ago for betting on baseball -- a charge Rose denies -- the all-time hitman with 4,256 hits told Early Show Anchor Bryant Gumbel in an exclusive TV interview that he will receive a hearing for re-instatement early next year.

Support for Rose to bloom in baseball again has never been stronger as evidenced by a new Web site, www.sportcut.com.

Rose told Gumbel that he never presented his side of the story. The former star of the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos did sign an agreement with Major League Baseball accepting the ban. But Rose hints that arrangement was borne out of a vendetta against him by baseball's chief investigator.

Here is the text of his interview on The Early Show:

BRYANT GUMBEL: Amid news that baseball officials will finally grant him a hearing of sorts, Pete Rose is turning to his fans in hopes of regaining a place in baseball. By agreement with the commissioner, you'll recall, Pete was banned from the game in 1989 for allegedly betting on baseball. Now the game's all-time hits leader is fighting back by launching a Web site, which will include a fan petition calling for his admission into the Hall of Fame.

Pete, how you doing?

PETE ROSE (Former Baseball Player/Manager): I'm doing pretty good, Bryant. How are you doing?

GUMBEL: I'm doing all right. Good to see you, my friend.

ROSE: It's always a pleasure talking to you.

GUMBEL: Hey, look, let's start with this good news, first off. How are you viewing the news that Bob DuPuy...

ROSE: DuPuy, yeah.

GUMBEL: ...baseball's executive VP for administration will meet with you--with your attorney after January 1?

ROSE: Well, I'm happy about that. Of course, it's been 10 years and, you know, I spent a lot of money way back in '89 gathering up all this information and we come up with the settlement and the information never was disclosed to anybody. And the timing is right now. We have a full-time commissioner, [Bud] Selig, who seems to have an open mind and the fans give me a great response at the All-Century celebration and we contacted DuPuy and he responded.

GUMBEL: You think Mr. Selig has an open mind where your reinstatement's concerned?

ROSE: I think he wi...

GUMBEL: He's steadfastly said no.

ROSE: Yeah, but I think this is the beginning. I mean, this is dialogue. I mean, you can't go very far if you don't start talking to people. And I think when we show him what we show him, he may have a change of heart.

GUMBEL: Do you have any new information to impart to him? Your attorney have any new information?

ROSE: No, I don't think we have any new information But see, Bryant, we were never given the opportunity to show our case and to show what we have in rebuttal of what they have, and that's what we're talking about right now. And that's why I spent that $1½ million on back in 1989 and 1990. So we're very hopeful that we will open some eyes.

GUMBEL: Let me come back to the case in just a little bit. Let me talk about the petition that you've got. This move to the petition, is that born of desperation?

ROSE: Not at all. I mean, sportcut is a new Web site and I'm helping them launch that Web site today. I'm not telling people to vote for me to do this or vote for me to do that. I'm gonna be interested, just as any--everyone else is, to see what the response for this petition is.

ROSE: This is the first time I've ever been around a petition because I've been asked by thousands of people that want do petitions, and I can't be part of that. But, you know, this is not something I'm gonna get on the Web site and say, `Please vote for me on this petition to go to the Hall of Fame.' Just like when I followed the vote--the--balloting of the All-Century situation, I would do the same thing here, because I want to know how the people feel.

GUMBEL: Do you think fans are in a position to fairly judge your case?

ROSE: No, I don't. I really don't because I think fans are in a position where they judge for the opposition based on what they--what they read in the paper. But everything you read in the paper is not necessarily the truth. I think once January comes and--and DuPuy and [Rose's attorney Roger] Makley meet and my information can get out, we won't leak it like baseball did during the investigation. We'll do it in a very ethical way.

GUMBEL: We don't have time to sit here and review the case detail...

ROSE: Nor do we want to.

GUMBEL: Now some of us want to. That's all right. Well, detail the case...

ROSE: Well, I got time. My plane is 7:50 tonight.

GUMBEL: No, no. Let me ask you this: Why should fans believe you never bet on baseball, Pete? In light of...

ROSE: Because I didn't. Because...

GUMBEL: But in light of what they--in light of what they have seen and what they have read, why should they believe it? You tell me.

ROSE: Yeah, but what--Bryant, what--well, they really haven't--they haven't seen that much, and they read a lot more than they've seen. That's the problem. I mean, you could say anything you want about this guy did this and this guy did that and this guy did this, but you got to have some proof come down--eventually comes down the line. And every time you talk to the investigator who did the case about his proof...

GUMBEL: John Dowd.

ROSE: ...he talks about it. You mentioned his name. I don't like him enough to mention his name. You ask him to show the proof, he never shows up at the meting.

GUMBEL: Well, I mean...

ROSE: He'll show you one slip here, one slip there.

GUMBEL: They show you betting slips. They show you slips with your fingerprints on them. Shows you slips--slips in your handwriting.

ROSE: That's what he tells you. That's not what our people say, though. That's not what our people say, though. That's what I'm talking about. Wait. You know, the fair way to do this is wait till you get both sides of the story, then make a judgment. Everyone who's made a judgment on my case made a judgment on one side of the story. The fair way is there's two sides to every story. You may have a change of heart, even you, as intelligent as you are, once my evidence comes out.

GUMBEL: But let me allow for that, Pete. I mean, it's not just John Dowd. I mean, John Dowd says you bet on baseball. Ron Peters, who was your self-confessed--he says--bookmaker, says you bet on baseball.

ROSE: You mean the guy that I met one time and never talked to him on the phone?

GUMBEL: Let me finish.

ROSE: OK.

GUMBEL: Commissioner Bart Giamatti, ex-commissioner, the late Bart Giamatti says you bet on baseball.

ROSE: Well, he read the Dowd report.

GUMBEL: His successor, Faye Vincent, says you bet on baseball. I'm not saying they're right, Pete. I'm asking you, are they all lying?

ROSE: Well, your partner could say I bet on baseball. I mean, she could say it. I mean, does she know what she's talking about?

GUMBEL: Let me rephrase it. Why would these people want to lie about a popular player and the all-time hits leader, Pete?

ROSE: Well, I--no one--no, no, no. No one said they're--they're lying, Bryant. No one--no one said that Bart Giamatti is lying and Faye Vincent are lying. They believe the same thing because they read the Dowd report.

GUMBEL: You think Dowd's at the root of all this?

ROSE: I know he is. I don't think he is.

GUMBEL: Why? Did he have it in for you?

ROSE: He was unfair. Well...

GUMBEL: Did he have it in for you personally? Is that why?

ROSE: All I know is today you don't ever hear about John Dowd unless he talks about Pete Rose. Do you?

GUMBEL: No. In fact, baseball has asked him to please be quiet about this. They don't ...(unintelligible).

ROSE: Doesn't that seem kind of strange? The guy that did all this--this complete investigation and baseball tells him to be quiet?

GUMBEL: But to a lot of--to...

ROSE: It doesn't sound right to me, Bryant.

GUMBEL: To a lot of your fans, though, Pete, and--and you know--you've known me a long time. I've been one of them. You signed the pact in August of '89.

ROSE: OK. Mm-hmm.

GUMBEL: If you never bet on baseball, why did you sign it?

ROSE: Because I got what I was gonna et if I went to court: no finding I bet on baseball and I could apply for reinstatement after one year. Very simple and I saved half a million dollars.

GUMBEL: But the pact said specifically, `Peter Edward Rose acknowledges that the commissioner has a factual basis to impose the penalty.'

ROSE: He did. He did have a factual basis, the Dowd report, but we didn't have it--we didn't have time to answer the Dowd report.

GUMBEL: A new poll, Pete...

ROSE: Polls don't--polls really don't interest me.

GUMBEL: Polls don't interest you.

ROSE: No, not really.

GUMBEL: Even if they say that 74 percent of fans now favor your induction into the Hall of Fame?

ROSE: I'm happy to hear that, but 74 percent of what, 1,000 people? I mean...

GUMBEL: Of those polled, in this case 1,100.

ROSE: Well, you could get--there's 1,100 people standing outside the door right there.

GUMBEL: That doesn't mean much to you.

ROSE: I guarantee you, if we went out there, we'd get more than 75 percent.

GUMBEL: That doesn't mean much to you then?

ROSE: No. I do--I'm---polls don't--don't mean much to me.

GUMBEL: So it also doesn't matter then what percentage of them believe you did bet on baseball?

ROSE: Well, you're always going to have a percent because they've been brainwashed as far as what they read, Bryant. I mean, in America, if you read something constantly, day in and day out, I mean, the sky is pink, the sky is pink, you're gonna convince people the sky is pink.

GUMBEL: I guess what I'm driving at, Pete, is there's two things at issue here. It's your getting back into baseball and your getting your good name back. Which is more important to you?

ROSE: Well, in my circles--I mean, in my travels, and I travel around the world all the time, I can't honestly sit here and tell you my name is bad. I mean, I'm--I'm embraced by fans all over the world, all over the country on a daily basis and they seem to be in my corner.

GUMBEL: Let me rephrase. Which is more important: That you are found innocent or that you get back into baseball?

ROSE: Well, I think if I'm found innocent, I'll get back in baseball. So one leads to the other.

GUMBEL: Yeah, Pete, but you may get back into baseball without being found innocent. Is that good enough?

ROSE: No, I'd like to be found innocent. I really would. I've been going through a lot for the last 10 years.

GUMBEL: Pete, it's always good to see you. Let me make a note here that you can access the Pete Rose petition at sportcut.com. Pete, take care of yourself, will you?

ROSE: OK. You have a good day.

GUMBEL: Merry Christmas.