|Monday, November 29
Updated: December 3, 11:08 AM ET
Rose says he has evidence to show baseball
NEW YORK -- Pete Rose stepped up his efforts Tuesday to get back into baseball, saying he had handwriting and fingerprint evidence to bolster his case.
Rose said one of his lawyers, Roger Makley, will meet in December or January with baseball's top lawyer Bob DuPuy, which Rose termed the start of a dialogue to end his lifetime ban from the sport.
Following an investigation of his gambling, baseball's career hits leader agreed to the lifetime ban in August 1989.
While Rose was hopeful the meeting with DuPuy is the first step on the road to reinstatement, commissioner Bud Selig played down the development.
"Mr. Rose's attorney has written me a letter. I read it very thoughtfully, very carefully, and turned it over to Mr. DuPuy. There's nothing more involved right now than that, nor should there be any more read into it," Selig said at an owners' meeting in Irving, Texas.
DuPuy described the meeting more as of a courtesy in which he would listen to what Rose's side had to say and pass it along to Selig.
"About 10 days ago, they asked to meet with commissioner Selig and myself. Bud asked me to meet with them," DuPuy said. "We're always amenable to discussing matters with people."
Rose twice said that baseball had approached him about a meeting, a claim denied by DuPuy and Selig spokesman Rich Levin. Rose's business manager, Warren Greene, said he had been dealing with DuPuy on a "daily basis," but DuPuy said he had spoken with Greene just once.
DuPuy said Selig would not be part of the meeting and that he would update Selig, who has said many times that he has seen no new evidence that would cause him to alter the ban.
"After we meet with them and see what they've got, he'll make a determination and we'll see from there," DuPuy said, adding that Selig did not set any timetable.
Rose, 58, has been in the headlines repeatedly in recent weeks. First, he was among the 25 players elected to baseball's All-Century team. Then, he received the largest ovation among the All-Century players introduced before Game 2 of the World Series at Atlanta's Turner Field.
"That's like outdoing God in heaven," Rose said. He also got a surge of support from the public after NBC reporter Jim Gray questioned him sharply and on live TV about gambling immediately after the on-field ceremony.
Rose said his side had written baseball two years ago and again five months ago to ask for a meeting but received no response, another claim Levin denied. The latest letter was sent about 10 days ago, a few weeks after the Atlanta ceremony, and Rose said DuPuy answered within 24 hours.
"I don't know if that had anything to do with his responding to our letter," Rose said, referring to the ovation. "I had to think so."
Rose applied for reinstatement in September 1997 and still hasn't received a formal response from Selig. While the agreement he signed made no formal finding, then-commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti said he concluded Rose had bet on the Cincinnati Reds while managing the team.
While baseball's rules allowed Rose to apply to reinstatement after one year, he waited eight. He didn't want to apply while Fay Vincent was commissioner, because Vincent headed the Rose investigation as deputy to Giamatti and hired John Dowd, who compiled the report on Rose's gambling.
Rose said his lawyers would attack the evidence gathered by Dowd, who said he obtained betting slips in Rose's handwriting and with his fingerprints, along with corroborating telephone records.
"If you believe his handwriting expert, why not believe mine?" Rose said. "If you believe his gambling expert, why not believe mine? Hold your breath and give my people a chance to speak."
Marc Roberts, the chairman of the company that owns the new web site www.sportcut.com, dodged questions about how much Rose was being paid for promoting the site, alternately saying he didn't negotiate the deal, that he didn't know, that there was no agreement, and that talks were ongoing. He finally admitted he didn't want to disclose the amount and said he would do so only if Greene agreed.
Greene, standing next to Roberts, said he was bound by a confidentiality agreement with Roberts' company.
Organizers of the Web site said that at least 90,000 either signed the Rose petition or voted that the ban should continue as of 6 p.m. ET Tuesday.