Pat Rose was unhappy on Sunday when asked about allegations he had sex with a girl under the age of 16 in the 1970s.
Rose, who was attending a celebration of the 1980 World Series-winning Phillies in Philadelphia, told a female reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer: “No, I’m not here to talk about that. I’m sorry about that. That was 55 years ago, baby.
Later, when asked by another journalist, he said: “I’ll tell you one more time. I’m here for Philly fans. I’m here for my teammates. I’m here for the Phillies organization. And who cares what happened 50 years ago? You weren’t even born. So you shouldn’t talk about it, because you weren’t born.”
Rose was banned for life from baseball in 1989 for betting on games, but received special permission from the commissioner’s office to appear at Philly’s event. He has been barred from Hall of Fame consideration because he is on baseball’s ineligible list.
Major League Baseball and the Phillies did not return requests for comment Monday about Rose’s remarks.
Allegations of underage sex against Rose, 81, surfaced in a 2017 defamation lawsuit she filed against John Dowd, who led an investigation into Rose’s gambling. It stemmed from remarks Dowd made on a radio show that Rose had had sex with “12- to 14-year-old girls”.
In a 2017 deposition in the case, an unidentified woman said she had sex with Rose when she was under 16. Rose responded that she believed she was 16, the age of consent in Ohio. Rose has not been charged with underage sex; The statute of limitations has expired.
The revelations prompted the Phillies to cancel Rose’s scheduled appearance at the park in 2017.
This time, Rose was met mostly by cheers at the Citizens Bank Park ceremony.
During his long career, Rose had more hits than any other player in major league history, although he benefited greatly from collecting more at-bats than any other player. His career average is 179th. He had his share of doubles and walks, but singles were his specialty.
He gained fame and recognition throughout his career for his over-the-top hustle, including sprinting to first base after a walk and sprinting, rather than running, on and off the field after every half inning.
There is a consensus that if Rose had not been involved in the baseball betting that got him banned from the game, he would have been comfortably elected to the Hall of Fame.
After a great career with the Cincinnati Reds, he was a free agent in 1979 with the Phillies and led them to their first World Series victory in 1980. That team also included third baseman Mike Schmidt, who won the NL Most Valuable Player award that season, and Steve Carlton, who won that year’s NL Cy Young Award.
After an initial inquiry, Alex Coffey, a reporter whom Rose described as “small,” in twitter that Rose “asked me if I was offended and said, “I’ll forgive you if I sign 1,000 baseballs for you,” before saying, “I’m sorry.”