NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Exiled baseball legend Pete Rose is returning to the bench — for one game only.
Rose will manage the independent Bridgeport Bluefish on June 16, the team announced Saturday. The Atlantic League franchise is based in southern Connecticut.
“This is one of the biggest and influential announcements in not only franchise history, but in professional baseball in the last 25 years as well,” Bluefish general manager Ken Shepard said, according to the team’s official website.
Rose, then-manager of the Cincinnati Reds, was banned for life by Major League Baseball in 1989 for betting on games, a charge he denied until 2004. He maintains he never bet against his own team.
“I’m doing this because I love baseball,” Rose said of his one-day gig with the Bluefish. “I love young players because they bring you one thing you need in sports – enthusiasm. These young men are here working their butts off. They don’t have egos – they are hungry. They run hard and they play hard, all the time. In the late ’80’s I think thirty-three of my players had their first Major League hit. I’m proud of that. Guys like Chris Sabo, Kurt Stillwell and Eric Davis. I love coaching young players like them.”
Rose said he’ll tell the Bridgeport players “a few things before the game” at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
“I will look at each of them and say that every one of you guys has more ability right now than I did at 18 years old,” he said. “I was told that I was too slow, didn’t have a strong arm, and didn’t have power, but I got an opportunity and I worked the rest of it out. I out worked people, out hustled people, and had more determination. You have to prepare yourself right and the rest will take care of itself. You set your mind right and winning will fall into place and there is no better motivation than to win. It’s why you play the game – to win.”
Rose, nicknamed “Charlie Hustle,” finished his career with a record 4,256 hits. But because of the lifetime ban, he’s shut out of the Hall of Fame.
The 73-year-old has said he’d like a second chance to manage.
“I’m going to tell you something right now, whether you believe it or not,” Rose told WFAN radio in 2012. “Baseball is a better game if I’m in it. OK? Because I care about the game and I’m a teacher of the game. And I care about young players.”
The Atlantic League is unaffiliated with MLB.
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