Rose appears at New Jersey casino hours before Game 2
Posted: Sunday October 24, 1999 06:38 PM
Pete Rose on his inclusion in the All-Century Team ; "I'm a member of the 3,000-hit club; they couldn't have this without me." AP
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Hours before he was to be introduced at the World Series as part of baseball's All-Century team, Pete Rose appeared Sunday at a memorabilia and autograph show at a casino.
And he saw nothing wrong with it.
"This date was picked six months in advance," he said. "And I didn't pick the city. Don't forget, Mays, Aaron and Musial are here, too."
Rose, who was banned from baseball in 1989 for gambling, sat at a table with other members of the 3,000 hit club for two hours and signed baseballs for $40, caps for $60 and bats for $75.
The two-day event, at Bally's Park Place Casino Hotel, included appearances by Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial and other players who reached the 3,000-hit mark.
Aaron, Mays and Musial made it to Atlanta in time for a 2 p.m. news conference with other members of the All-Century team. Of the 18 living members on the 30-man team, only Rose, Ernie Banks, Mark McGwire and Ted Williams missed the news conference.
Rose had 4,256 hits, more than any other player in baseball history, during a 24-year career ending in 1986.
"I'm a member of the 3,000-hit club," he said. "They couldn't have this without me."
Rose appeared at the autograph show from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. He then headed to Atlanta for his first official baseball event in 10 years.
"It's disappointing that he's there," said Nolan Ryan, one of nine pitchers on the All-Century team. "It's something you've got to deal with. I think the fans look at it differently."
Rose was to be honored along with the other members of the All-Century team before Game 2 of the New York Yankees-Atlanta Braves series at Turner Field, which was to start at 8:05 p.m.
"He had to be on the team," said former Reds teammate Johnny Bench, one of two catchers elected. "That's a forgone conclusion. You would be startled, I would be startled, everyone would be startled if he wasn't included."
Fans and autograph seekers at the show had no problem with Rose appearing at a casino on the day of his All-Century honor.
"They just happened to have it here," said Dave Farrell, 50, of Los Gatos, Calif., who was standing in line with a Rose game jersey to be autographed.
"He bet on baseball, but he didn't fix games and he didn't decide the outcome of games, which is the critical item," Farrell said.
John Schreiner, 15, of Owatonna, Minn., said Rose's off-field activities are his business.
"The century team should be about his baseball ability, not his gambling," Schreiner said.
Rod Carew, a fellow 3,000-hit great, signed autographs near Rose on Sunday. He said Rose was living up to his contract with promoter Pastime Productions.
"I don't see anything wrong with it," Carew said.
Rose accepted a lifetime ban from baseball on Aug. 23, 1989, following an investigation of his gambling by then-commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig didn't invite Rose to the All-Star game in July, when the living players on the 100-man All-Century ballot were honored. A month later, Selig agreed to have Rose appear at the World Series if elected.
"I have no problem with Pete being on the team," said Brooks Robinson, one of the All-Century third basemen. "I have a problem with the gambling part and putting him in the Hall of Fame. That's the worst thing you can do. It undermines the whole integrity of the game."
Rose still maintains he never bet on baseball.
"It's good Pete is here. Why not?" Mays said. "I think he's got to apologize."
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