By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati's long, hot summer of 1989 actually started to boil in February in Plant City, Fla.
The day after pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, Reds manager Pete Rose was summoned to New York to meet with Major League Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth. The topic: Rose's alleged gambling.
By the time the Reds returned north to open the season April 3 at Riverfront Stadium against Los Angeles, Major League Baseball and Sports Illustrated had announced they were independently investigating Rose's gambling, and some of Rose's long-time associates were in legal trouble.
With almost each damning accusation and allegation, Rose offered an impassioned denial that he did not bet on baseball.
One of his first denials was co-ownership of two winning Pik-Six tickets from Jan. 25 worth $265,669.20 from Florence's Turfway Park. Rose, however, later implied that he was in on the tickets but didn't sign them in an effort to avoid publicity.
On April 5, the same day the Reds improved to 2-0 with a victory over the Dodgers, federal court documents relating to an investigation of bookmaker Ron Peters revealed that a Cincinnati resident, identified as G-1 - later named as Rose in published reports - bet an average of $2,000 a game on four to eight games per day, about four days a week.
The Peters papers were based on an affidavit from Paul Janszen, a former Rose friend who would plead guilty to a tax evasion for illegally selling steroids. Janszen also alleged that - in early 1987 - another former Rose associate, Tommy Gioiosa, was to deliver $34,000 to Peters to pay off a gambling debt by G-1.
On April 6, 1989, Gioiosa was indicted on charges of tax evasion and cocaine trafficking.
Later in April, a court transcript revealed that Baseball's investigation of Rose centered on gambling and that the government was investigating Rose for tax evasion.
On May 9, commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti received a report on Rose from special investigator John Dowd, which would become widely known as the Dowd Report. Two days later, Giamatti said he reviewed the report and scheduled a May 25 hearing to give Rose an opportunity to respond. The commissioner later postponed the meeting until June 26.
On June 19, Rose filed suit against Major League Baseball and the Reds to halt the meeting, calling Giamatti "biased and prejudiced." It was revealed for the first time that Peters had accused Rose of betting on baseball games and that Baseball had asked Rose to step down as Reds manager during the investigation.
On June 22, in the first day of testimony before Hamilton County Pleas Court Judge Norbert Nadel, Dowd said Baseball had possession of telephone records and betting slips in Rose's handwriting indicating he bet on Reds games.
Two days later, in a radio interview, Rose said he would not resign. The next day, Nadel ruled that Rose couldn't be disciplined for at least 14 days.
The case moved into federal district court but got hung up on jurisdiction.
Finally, when it appeared Rose's case was stuck in the courts, Major League Baseball announced Aug. 23 that it had scheduled an Aug. 24 news conference regarding Rose. Giamatti announced Thursday, Aug. 24, Baseball had handed Rose a lifetime suspension with the chance of reinstatement in one year. Rose continued to deny he bet on baseball.
Comments by former Major League Baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti in announcing Pete Rose's lifetime suspension Aug. 24, 1989:
"By choosing not to come to a hearing before me, and by choosing not to proffer any testimony or evidence contrary to the evidence ... Mr. Rose has accepted baseball's ultimate sanction, lifetime ineligibility.
"... The matter of Mr. Rose is now closed. Let no one think that it did not hurt baseball. That hurt will pass, however, as the great glory of the game asserts itself and a resilient institution goes forward. Let it also be clear that no one is superior to the game."
Special investigator John Dowd cited five key pieces of evidence in his 225-page report that he said pointed to Pete Rose's betting on baseball games and Reds games:
Three betting slips that a handwriting analyst said were written by Rose;
The notebook of Paul Janszen, one of Rose's chief accusers, recording betting action by Rose from April 7, 1987, through May 3, 1987, on Reds and other games;
Telephone traffic from Rose's home and hotel rooms to Steve Chevashore, who allegedly handled some of Rose's bets, to an unidentified Staten Island bookmaker named "Val" and to bookmaker Ron Peters during the baseball season;
Peters' betting records, which showed baseball betting action on Reds games and other baseball games;
Statements of Chevashore on an audio tape that contradict Rose's statement that Janszen, Chevashore and Val were not involved in the betting action on the Reds or major-league baseball by Rose.
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