PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pete Rose on Sunday dismissed questions about his first on-field appearance in Philadelphia since the franchise scrapped its 2017 plans to honor him over a woman’s allegation that she was having a sexual relationship with baseball’s hit king when she was a minor.
“It was 55 years ago, honey,” Rose told a… female baseball writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Rose, 81, declined to answer further questions in the dugout after a team photo in the outfield was intended to Phillies1980 World Series championship team and other former players. The original 1980 anniversary party was postponed for two seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rose appeared on the field in Philadelphia for the first time since he was given a lifelong suspension from Major League Baseball in August 1989. He agreed to the ban after an investigation for MLB by attorney John Dowd discovered that Rose was placing numerous bets on the undefined to win from 1985-87 while playing for and managing the team.
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 began a sexual relationship in Cincinnati that lasted several years. She also claimed that Rose had met her for sex at locations outside of Ohio.
Rose’s attorney had said the woman’s claims have not been verified.
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Rose admitted in 2017 that he was in a relationship with the woman, but he said it started when she was 16. He also said they never had sex outside of Ohio.
Rose was then in her mid-thirties, married and had two children.
The Phillies would induct Rose into their Wall of Fame at an on-field ceremony. That ceremony fell through and there were no other plans to celebrate Rose until this season. He would be introduced on the pitch for Sunday’s game, along with many former teammates from the 1980 World Cup squad.
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 because without him there wouldn’t be a trophy in 1980. In addition, the club has received permission from the Commission to invite Pete to join the championship team.”
Rose, a 17-time All-Star, had 826 of his 4,256 hits during his five years playing for the Phillies from 1979-83.
Rose has asked MLB to end his life ban.