Thursday, January 8, 2004

Rose's timing annoying to Hall

Ex-Red says he didn't intend to overshadow 2004 inductees

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Pete Rose said Wednesday he didn't plan to draw attention away from the elections of Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor to baseball's Hall of Fame.

The release this week of Rose's autobiography, in which he admits he bet on baseball, upset Hall of Fame officials, who announced Tuesday that Eckersley and Molitor were the latest inductees.

"It's unfortunate, because this should be their day," Hall chairman Jane Forbes said of Molitor and Eckersley.

"I never intended to diminish the exciting news for these deserving players," Rose said in a statement.

Eckersley and Molitor accused Rose of bad timing.

"I answered questions for an hour yesterday, but the only one that was used on the front page of USA Today was about Pete Rose," Molitor said.

Rose's publisher, Rodale Inc., originally announced the book would be released in March 2004 but moved the date to Jan. 8 - two days after the announcement of this year's Hall election results.

"My publisher worked hard to contain the news of this book until after the Hall of Fame announcements, and we were both upset when a media leak on Sunday caused the news to be announced on Monday," Rose said.

Sports Illustrated, which bought first serialization rights for this week's issue, put excerpts on its Web site Monday because book details were starting to get out.

Rose admits in the book, My Prison without Bars, that he placed bets on the Cincinnati Reds during the time he managed the team in the late 1980s.

ROSE LOSING VOTES: According to a nationwide poll by nine Tribune Company newspapers, Rose would fall well short of the 75 percent approval he needs for entry into the Hall of Fame. Reporters contacted 157 of the 508 voters in the Baseball Writers' Association of America who cast ballots in this year's election. Seventy-one said they would vote him in, 75 said they wouldn't, and 11 were undecided.

REDS: Right-hander Aaron Myette agreed to a minor-league contract that would pay him $380,000 if he makes the team next season. He gave up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings for Cleveland last year.

BULLPEN BRAWL: Former Yankees Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia and Fenway Park groundskeeper Paul Williams pleaded innocent to charges they brawled in New York's bullpen during the AL Championship Series. The judge set a Feb. 5 pretrial hearing for the players and a Feb. 24 hearing for Williams. All three have been charged with assault and battery.

WHITE SOX: Cliff Politte agreed to an $800,000, one-year contract with Chicago. He was 1-5 with 12 saves and a 5.66 ERA in 49 1/3 innings last season for Toronto.

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