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Dowd, Vincent rip Rose

Both fault Charlie Hustle for Sunday's interview

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Tuesday October 26, 1999 08:31 AM

  Former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent believes Bart Giamatti's lifetime ban of Pete Rose should stand. Jim Commentucci/Allsport

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Washington lawyer who investigated Pete Rose's gambling habits 10 years ago said inviting the banned player to the All-Century ceremony was "like inviting Willie Sutton to a banker's meeting."

John Dowd, who compiled a 225-page report on Rose in 1989 along with seven volumes of evidence, also said Rose doesn't want to admit ties to mobsters and said the former player lied when he claimed he has never seen baseball's evidence.

"He got to see it all, and then he was given a copy of everything," Dowd said.

Before submitting the report to baseball, Dowd confronted Rose and his lawyers with the evidence during a meeting at a convent in Dayton, Ohio, on April 21-22, 1989, including evidence Rose bet on the Reds to win 52 times from April 8 to July 5, 1987. All that information was made public by an Ohio judge on June 26, 1989.

Dowd insisted Rose is incapable of admitting guilt.

"I don't think he wants to talk about his relationship with the mob," Dowd said. "If he says he bet on baseball, the next question leads inexorably to his debt to the mob. How much it was? Have you paid it off? Were you in communication with them when you were manager of the Cincinnati Reds?

"How did he come in second with the best team in baseball? I'd say the bookmaker makes a lot of money."

Dowd was angry that commissioner Bud Selig invited Rose to participate in Sunday's ceremony along with the 17 other living members of the 30-man All-Century team.

"It was an embarrassing night," Dowd said. "It was like inviting Willie Sutton to a banker's meeting. It was incredible. If that's what the lords of baseball want to do, we all know how it will come out. They all kept winking in 1920."

Dowd's references were to Sutton, a famous bank robber of the mid-20th century, and to the Black Sox scandal, in which eight Chicago White Sox players were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series to Cincinnati. Although they were acquitted of criminal charges, commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned them all for life.

Rose's attorney, Gary Spicer, said Dowd's statements were reckless and damaging to baseball.

"Whether it's frustration or desperation, it's unfortunate," Spicer said. "I think John Dowd continues to offer very malicious, vindictive comments that are unnecessary."

Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti died the week after the agreement was signed on Aug. 23, 1989, and Rose waited until September 1997 to apply. Selig repeatedly has said he has no intention of altering the ban, while Rose says he thought Giamatti would have allowed him to come back.

"The idea that Bart would have reinstated Pete is ludicrous," Fay Vincent, who was Giamatti's deputy and succeeded him as commissioner, said Monday.

Vincent said he wouldn't have invited Rose to the ceremony but didn't want to be too critical of Selig.

"It would have been a great occasion for Pete to be more gracious and more humble, but that's not Pete," Vincent said.

Rather than contest Dowd's report, at a hearing before Giamatti, Rose signed the ban agreement.

"Unlike Charlie Manson, he didn't come to the hearing," Dowd said, referring to Rose's statement Sunday that "Charles Manson gets a hearing every year, doesn't he?

"He agreed there was a factual basis and agreed the investigation was fair," Dowd said, referring to language in the agreement Rose signed.

Dowd said Rose should never be allowed to set foot on a major-league field.

"We've ignored that rule. My question is what's the next rule we ignore?" he said. "Is there anybody in the game who's going to stand up for the rule."

Dowd revealed that the commissioner's office filed a complaint against him with the District of Columbia bar about 1 1/2 years ago in an attempt to keep him from speaking publicly about the Rose case.

"They said I was breaching confidences," Dowd said. "It was summarily dismissed. It's a rough crowd there these days in baseball."

Robert DuPuy, baseball's executive vice president of administration and chief legal officer, distanced the sport from Dowd's views.

"We do not solicit his comments nor do we endorse them," he said. "We would prefer that Mr. Dowd refrain from commenting on his representation of the office of the commissioner. He is no longer engaged by this office and he has completed his work. We don't look for his guidance in this whatsoever."

 
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