Pete Rose on Sunday dismissed questions about his first appearance at the Philadelphia stadium since the franchise scrapped plans to honor him in 2017 because of an allegation by a woman that she had sex with the king of baseball when she was a minor.
“It was 55 years ago, baby,” Rose told a baseball writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Rose, 81, declined to answer any further questions in the dugout moments after an outfield team photo meant to celebrate the Phillies’ 1980 World Series-winning team and other former players. The original 1980 anniversary celebration was postponed for two seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The reporter tweeted later Sunday that, after the ceremony, Rose asked if he had offended her and offered to “sign 1,000 baseballs” for his forgiveness before finally saying he was “sorry.”
Rose also dismissed another question from The Associated Press after the ceremony about the impeachment and her comment earlier in the day.
“Who cares what happened 50 years ago?” Rose said, according to the Inquirer. “You weren’t even born. So you shouldn’t be talking about it, because you weren’t born. If you don’t know anything about it, don’t talk about it.”
Rose made his first on-field appearance in Philadelphia since receiving a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in August 1989. He agreed to the ban after an MLB investigation by attorney John Dowd discovered that Rose placed numerous bets on the Cincinnati Reds to win. from 1985 to 1987 while playing and managing the team.
Rose received a standing ovation from Phillies fans, many of whom weren’t even born or too young to remember baseball’s hit king in his prime, as he walked onto the field at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday. .
“You made me feel really good today,” Rose said of the applause. “I don’t want to say I expected it. I guess I expected it from the Philadelphia fans. That’s the way they are. They love their sports heroes.”
However, the Phillies planned to honor Rose in 2017 for his contributions to the 1980 World Series champions and the 1983 National League pennant winners.
The woman, identified as Jane Doe in 2017, said Rose called her in 1973, when she was 14 or 15, and they had sexual encounters in Cincinnati that lasted several years. She also alleged that Rose met at places outside of Ohio to have sex.
Rose’s attorney had said the woman’s claims are unverified.
Rose acknowledged in 2017 that she did have a relationship with the woman, but said it started when she was 16. She also said that she never had sex outside of Ohio.
At the time, Rose was in his 30s and married with two children.
The Phillies were going to induct Rose into their Wall of Fame at an on-field ceremony. That ceremony was canceled and there were no other plans to celebrate Rose until this season. He was scheduled to be introduced on the field before Sunday’s game along with many former teammates from the 1980 champion team.
Last month, the Phillies defended the decision to invite Rose to participate in the ceremony.
“In planning the 1980 reunion, we consulted with Pete’s teammates about his inclusion,” the Phillies said in a statement. “Everyone wants Pete to be a part of the festivities as there would be no trophy in 1980 without him. Also, the club received permission from the Commissioner’s Office to invite Pete as a member of the championship team.”
Rose, a 17-time All-Star, had 826 of his 4,256 hits during the five years he played for the Phillies from 1979 to 1983.
Rose has asked MLB to end his lifetime ban.
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Pete Rose dismisses questions about child abuse