Angry Rose wants forgiveness

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 9, 2004

NEW YORK - Pete Rose is an angry man.

He feels he's done his part, confessed that he bet on baseball. But instead of absolution, he keeps hearing more condemnation: His apology came too late, was insincere, upstaged the Hall of Fame and brought him more money.

''Now you're coming clean, and it's not good enough,'' he said Thursday during a 30-minute interview with The Associated Press. ''It's not right. So how can I win? How can I win if people aren't going to be fair with me?''

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Now 62, his hair thinner and his tummy chubbier, Charlie Hustle craves a full, free and unconditional pardon from baseball commissioner Bud Selig. He wants to get into the Hall of Fame - but what he really wants is the chance to manage a major league team again.

Rose says a reinstatement with restrictions would be unfair.

''I don't know if they would ever say, 'We'll reinstate you but you can't work in baseball.' I don't think that's the American way, I really don't,'' Rose said.

He alternated between pleas for forgiveness and the cockiness he made famous during a record-setting playing career that stretched from 1963 to 1986.

In his second autobiography, ''Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars,'' he finally confessed that he bet on the Cincinnati Reds while he managed the team in the late 1980s, baseball's capital crime, one that led to the lifetime ban he agreed to in 1989.

Rose had hoped the release of the book Thursday would be end of the end of the public debate over whether he deserved a second chance. He would be the first person on the permanent ineligible list to ever gain reinstatement.

Instead, initial reaction to excerpts published by Sports Illustrated earlier this week was largely negative. Hall of Fame vice chairman Joe Morgan, his former Reds teammate, condemned the commercial aspect of the confession and saw no contrition.