PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pete Rose deflected questions Sunday about his first homecoming appearance in Philadelphia since the franchise scrapped 2017 plans to honor him because a woman claimed she had a sexual relationship with baseball’s kingpin when she was a minor.
“That was 55 years ago, baby,” Rose said to one female baseball writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer;.
Rose, 81, declined to answer any further questions on board, moments after a group photo outside to celebrate Phillies1980 World Series championship team and other former players. The original 1980 anniversary celebration was postponed for two seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rose made his first appearance on the field in Philadelphia since receiving a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in August 1989. He agreed to the ban after an MLB investigation by attorney John Dowd found that Rose placed numerous bets in the undefined win from 1985-87 while playing and managing the team.
The Phillies, however, planned to honor Rose in 2017 for his contributions to the 1980 World Series champions and 1983 National League champions.
The woman, identified as Jane Doe in 2017, said Rose called her in 1973, when she was 14 or 15, and they began a sexual relationship in Cincinnati that lasted several years. She also claimed that Rose met her at locations outside of Ohio for sex.
Rose’s lawyer had said the woman’s claims have not been verified.
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Rose acknowledged in 2017 that he did have a relationship with the woman, but said it started when she was 16. He also said they never had sex outside of Ohio.
At the time, Rose was in his 30s and married with two children.
The Phillies were going to induct Rose into their Wall of Fame in an on-field ceremony. That ceremony was canceled and there were no further plans to celebrate Rose until this season. He was on hand to be introduced to the field before Sunday’s game along with many of his former teammates from the 1980 World Series championship team.
Last month, the Phillies defended the decision to invite Rose to participate in the ceremony.
“In planning the 1980 reunion, we consulted with Pete’s teammates about his inclusion,” the Phillies said in a statement. “Everyone wants Pete to be part of the celebrations as there would have been no trophy in 1980 without him. In addition, the club received permission from the Commissioner’s office to invite Pete as a member of the championship team.”
A 17-time All-Star, Rose had 826 of his 4,256 hits during his five years with the Phillies from 1979-83.
Rose asked MLB to end his lifetime ban.