NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Pete Rose, Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader, was banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on games as the manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
Ever since suspensions came down a week ago for ties to the Biogenesis of America clinic, the 72-year-old has spoken out frequently about his past and his take on the matter.
Last week, “Charlie Hustle” said that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez — who is currently appealing a 211-game suspension — and the rest of the players suspended should admit what they did and be forgiven.
Rose joined 93.7 The Fan’s John Phillips in Pittsburgh to offer further perspective on the current controversy engulfing Major League Baseball, comparing the PED suspensions to what he went through, and is currently going through.
“You have to understand, I don’t call these guys to do shows, they call me,” Rose told Phillips. “And of course with all this steroid talk and the 12 guys being suspended and A-Rod appealing, they want my input because I’m suspended for life. Hey, everything is a different case. I made mistakes. I can’t whine about it. I’m the one that messed up and I’m paying the consequences. However, if I am given a second chance, I won’t need a third chance.
“And to be honest with you, I picked the wrong vice. I should have picked alcohol. I should have picked drugs or I should have picked beating up my wife or girlfriend because if you do those three, you get a second chance. They haven’t given too many gamblers a second chance in the world of baseball.”
Those who are found guilty of betting on baseball are immediately given a lifetime ban from the league. For performance-enhancing drug users, on the other hand, there is a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy. Rose admitted to betting on baseball in 2004 after nearly 15 years of denials.
“Oh sure, it’s the worst mistake I could have ever made,” Rose said. “If I ever made the Hall of Fame, I’d be the happiest guy in the world. But I don’t want you to think that I go to bed at night praying I make the Hall of Fame. When I go to bed at night, I pray that I wake up tomorrow morning. That’s where I’m at in my life right now.
“I will continue to sell the game of baseball., talk positive about the game of baseball, defend the game of baseball — which you know right now is awfully hard to do today.”
Rose explained that he’s developed a friendship with A-Rod over the past year, and the two talk a fair amount.
“The last time I texted Alex is when (Yankees general manager) Brian Cashman told him to keep his bleeping mouth shut and play baseball,” Rose told 93.7. “I met Alex more than a year ago. He was wrong, there’s no question about it. He talks about old-timers in baseball. He talks about (Roberto) Clemente and (Hank) Aaron. He loves this history of the game. I think he’d be the first one to tell you he screwed up. And if he doesn’t, he’s not telling you the truth.
“My advice to anybody listening is don’t do like I did, don’t do like Alex did or do what (Ryan) Braun did. Don’t do like any of those guys did. Don’t lie if you are confronted about something that you made a mistake. The faster you come clean the better off you are going to be.”