The Phillies announced in April that Pete Rose would be this year’s inductee into the Wall of Fame. Rose, who played five seasons with the Phillies and is best known in Philly baseball lore for his catch of a dropped Bob Boone pop-up in the World Series, would be honored at the team’s annual Alumni Weekend the second weekend in August.
Today, the Phillies said Rose wouldn’t be honored at all. The team will not give out the Pete Rose bobbleheads it had planned for Friday, and Rose will not be on the field with other Phillies alumni.
Here’s what changed: On Monday, a woman filed a sworn statement in federal court saying Rose had a sexual relationship with her before she turned 16.
“In 1973, when I was 14 or 15 years old, I received a phone call from Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds,” the woman—identified as “Jane Doe”—said in the filing. “Sometime after that, Pete Rose and I began meeting at a house in Cincinnati. … It was at that house where, before my sixteenth birthday, Pete Rose began a sexual relationship with me. This sexual relationship lasted for several years. Pete Rose also met me in locations outside of Ohio where we had sex.”
In some ways, the news is not new. The statement was filed as part of a defamation lawsuit Rose filed against John Dowd, the lawyer who prepared a report into Rose’s gambling on baseball in 1989. On a radio interview in 2015 on West Chester, Pennsylvania’s WCHE 1520 AM, Dowd said that Rose associate Michael Bertolini “told us that he not only ran bets but ran young girls down at spring training, ages 12 to 14. Isn’t that lovely? So that’s statutory rape every time you do that.”
Rose denied the allegations at the time, as did Bertolini, but they were out there when the Phillies announced he’d be honored on the Wall of Fame. A woman saying Rose raped her when she was a teenager is a different situation than a third-hand allegation, and multiple Phillies writers said the team shouldn’t honor Rose this weekend.
Amazingly, the press release announcing the cancelation quotes Rose on the situation:
While I am truly honored that the Phillies fans voted for me to be this year’s Wall of Fame inductee, I am concerned that other matters will overshadow the goodwill associated with Alumni Weekend, and I agree with the decision not to participate.
No more Pete Rose tribute, as jointly decided by the Phillies and the man accused of having sex with underage girls.