You Can Bet on Baseball for a Steak Dinner
How Pete Rose once got the better of Sparky Anderson.
Pete Rose, the most prolific hitter in baseball history,
accumulated 4,256 hits in his life-time and unquestionably,
produced Hall of Fame numbers. Rose, however, was banned from
baseball in 1989 for allegedly gambling on baseball. Although
significant circumstantial evidence suggests that Rose bet on
baseball, Rose has always has denied these allegations, arguing
that no real evidence has ever surfaced which makes it clear that
he did indeed bet on baseball.
It is possible, however, that certain incriminating evidence
has been tucked away in forgotten sources for decades. Well, that
depends on whether betting on baseball for a steak dinner amounts
to "gambling," as viewed by Major League Baseball.
Recently, I came across a story that appeared in the Sporting
News, April 3, 1971, written by Earl Lawson, that indicates that
Rose and Sparky Anderson engaged in some type of gambling
back in 1971. The article quotes Anderson as saying "I had
bet Pete Rose a steak dinner he wouldn’t get a hit in his first
time at bat," in his first appearance in a Grapefruit League
game in the Spring of 1971.
The Pirates pitcher, Bruce Dal Canton, threw three consecutive
balls to Rose to open the count to 3-0. Rose stepped out of the
batter’s box and shouted to Anderson, "The bet’s off if I
walk." Anderson is then quoted as saying "You know Pete
. . . He never likes to lose. He’s protecting his bet." On
the fourth pitch, in classic Charlie Hustle style, the determined
and confident Rose drilled a shot to center field for a single.
Thereafter, Rose informed Anderson, "I want that steak
dinner paid for from out of your pocket. None of that expense
In 1989, Major League Baseball unleashed the most
comprehensive investigation in the league’s history, in an effort
to determine if Rose bet on baseball. John Dowd, a lawyer in
Washington, D.C. was appointed special counsel for Commissioners
Peter Ueberroth and A. Bartlett Giamatti. Dowd wrote in his
report that "etting on baseball by a
participant of the game is corrupt because it erodes and destroys
the integrity of the game of baseball. Betting also exposes the
game to the influence of forces who seek to control the game to
their own ends. Betting on one’s own team gives rise to the
ultimate conflict of interest in which the individual player/bettor
places his personal financial interest above the interests of the
On August 24th, Bart Giamatti stated the chilling words that
banned Rose from the game for life:
"In the absence of a hearing and therefore in the absence of
evidence to the contrary . . . I am confronted by the factual
record of Mr. Dowd. On the basis of that, yes, I have concluded
he bet on baseball."
Rose and Anderson were two critical components of the Big Red
Machine dynasty that was thoroughly enjoyed by the City of
Cincinnati in the 1970s. Recently, Sparky Anderson, was inducted
into the Hall of Fame, while Rose remains standing outside the
Hall looking in.
Assuming that Lawson correctly quoted Anderson and Rose in the
1971 article, and there is no apparent reason to doubt its truth,
does this mean that (A) Rose has not been telling the truth about
baseball, (B) Anderson was wrongfully inducted into the Hall of
Fame, (C) that you can bet on baseball as long as it’s for a
steak dinner, or (D) some combination of the foregoing?
Stephen Jordan is a lawyer, writer, and artist and has published many
articles for various publications and websites, including the Sporting
News. In addition, Jordan has created artwork for many periodicals,
newspapers, websites, and for sports organizations, including the Boston
Red Sox. Signed prints of his artwork are currently offered on eBay.
To view Jordan’s art, search “Fenway Art Print” at www.eBay.com, then
click on “seller’s other auctions” for all auctions offered by
“Catfish326”. For any information concerning Jordan’s art feel free to
e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Posted: November 18, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 6 comment(s)
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