Skip to content

Quote of the Day: Pete Rose on the PED cheaters

Jul 26, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

pete rose getty Getty Images

There are actually a couple of good quotes from Pete Rose in this story from Ted Berg at USA Today. A lengthy one about how, in his view, the PED stuff is bad because it messes with stats and records and that, unlike what he did, what Ryan Braun and the PED cheats have done would “piss off Babe Ruth” and other milestone holders.

Like we’ve said a lot around here, I’m pretty sure that’s what angers people about the PED stuff the most. And what makes people consider PEDs to be a bigger problem in baseball than other sports, even though it’s not at all clear that that is the case. And even though it’s probably the least significant thing about PEDs in baseball.

But the quote I like the most is this one:

“If baseball wants to get you, they’ve got enough resources and enough investigators that they’ll find a way to get you.”

He knows, obviously.

But if you read this whole interview you get the sense that Rose is not merely making a passive observation about the investigative power of MLB. You get the sense that he’s trying to float a narrative about what he did vs. what the PED guys have done which puts him in a better light and maybe, just maybe, gets baseball to think about his case again.

I bet, after a lot of baseball writers get a crack at Rose in Cooperstown over the next three days, we’ll see that argument being made.

  1. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    On a tangent note – I totally forgot about the fact that he broke the record on 9/11 until I saw that photo.

    Regardless of what you think of PED’s vs. Gambling, there is one indisputable difference with Rose vs. the Juicers. McGwire, Clemens, et al are not being voted in to the Hall – Rose is being kept OFF THE BALLOT! And don’t waive the sacred “rules” in front of me fro him being off the ballot. There was once a rule keeping Blacks out of the game. If a rule doesn’t make sense you change it.

    Pete has a gambling problem (note I did not use the past tense). Fergie Jenkins had a drug problem. Both of them F’d up and had to pay the price. Keep Rose away form the game by all means. But stop pretending his career did not happen. More hits then anyone, more runs then anyone, and was on the winning side more then anyone. Close down the Hall if that is not Hall worthy

    • historiophiliac - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:48 AM


      /throws popcorn

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        If I promise not to argue any rebuttal – what is the argument for keeping him out of the hall? Or for keeping him off the ballot? Mind you, I said I am fine with keeping in place the banishment from the game

        And btw, I starving, so I am going to eat the popcorn

      • junglerat524 - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        ::: pees on floor :::

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        Not on the rug, man.

      • historiophiliac - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        Wow. Delete function!

      • vivabear - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        That rug really tied the room together.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        There is no valid reason, other than MLB being overly mean spirited at time where they don’t have to be.

        They allowed the steroid era to curry forgiveness from the general public, and there’s a guy named Cobb in the HOF. Nice set of moralities, which is why Cooperstown won’t ever get a dime out of me if I can help it.

        / breaks out the oxyclean and rug cleaner.

      • ltzep75 - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:25 PM

        Nihilists! F*ck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

    • bigharold - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      “Pete has a gambling problem..”

      He also has a lying through his teeth problem. He broke a rule that he was well aware of and didn’t admit it until about 20 years after he was banned.

      I loved Rose as a player and I’d like to see him in the HoF before he’s dead but Rose is in the position he’s in because of his actions while managing the Reds and because he didn’t admit it for 20 teats. And, his self serving comparisons between him and guys that used PEDs are not only not helping it under scores that he still doesn’t get it.

      • yahmule - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Probably a desperate attempt to curry favor with the HOF electorate. I’m sure the ghoulish cretins will make him die first, like Santo and who knows how many other guys.

        The NFL veteran’s committee loves to do the same thing. They inducted a guy named Marshall Goldberg, who played back in the 40’s, a few years ago. They waited 88 years for this guy to kick over and suddenly he’s worthy of enshrinement, when he can no longer appreciate the honor.

      • jm91rs - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        Braun lied about Steroid use, Bonds still does. Will they be on the ballots? You betchya, so let the voters decide whether or not he’s worthy of the Hall.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:13 PM

        admit it for 20 teats

        I presume you meant years, though I wonder what the heck kind of auto-correct are you using that changed years to teats!

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        I have said elsewhere, and will say again: Pete has always been his own worst enemy, and would have been re-instated back in the 90’s had he stopped making things worse at every turn. That is one reason I think he still should be kept away from the game. But “lying through your teeth” has never been a dis-qualifier for being in the Hall (what – someone went back and verified the veracity of everything Johnny Bench said?). I will not make one excuse for anything he has done, I am simply saying his playing days made him a Hall of Famer.

      • nbjays - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        He was looking at a picture of Pete Rose and his wife at the time, so it is likely a Freudian thing.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        jm91rs: A banned substance does not necessary mean steroids. Ritalin is a banned substance. Marijuana is a banned substance. The latter seems a stretch but not the former.

        The language of the suspension is purposefully vague. It doesn’t mean Braun has been taking steroids.

      • bigharold - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        Francisco,.. LMAO, .. yeah, I meant years.

        I’m working from home on one computer and blogging on another and demonstrating my diminishing multitasking skills on both apparently.

      • Kevin Gillman - Jul 26, 2013 at 6:19 PM

        Let me ask you this, if he had come out clean when it happened, you think he’d be in the HOF now? Let’s forget for a second he lied, his numbers cannot ever be denied. Everyone lies, look at how many times Braun and A-Rod have lied, yet their names will be on the ballots 5 years after they retire.

        2 wrongs, multiple lies, yet one is okay, and the other is not?

    • bravojawja - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      what is the argument for keeping him out of the hall? Or for keeping him off the ballot?

      Aw, hell, I’ll give it a shot.

      There is really just one Cardinal Rule in the baseball rulebook, and it isn’t about doping or corked bats or the infield fly rule. It’s about gambling. Every player knows that gambling on baseball will lead to a lifetime ban. There is no question about it. Doesn’t matter if you’re Moonlight Graham or Pete Rose.

      And it comes from the history of the game. The Black Sox scandal nearly destroyed the integrity of baseball, nearly destroying the professional game itself. Gambling will always be a very real threat to any sport (ask Italian soccer), so baseball decided to make it the sacred cow of evil.

      Forget how Rose lied about it for years and couldn’t be contrite once he admitted it. He gambled on baseball – he broke the one Cardinal Rule of the game. He knew the consequences and he did it anyway.

      So the Hall can have an exhibition of the All-time Hits Leaders and put Rose at the top of the list. Put his bat and his spikes on display. But he’ll never get a plaque.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        Well – I still say fixing games is the cardinal rule, not gambling. And yes, there is a distinction – drug use is not the same as drug dealing, though both involve illegal subtances. But in any event….everything he did, he did as manager. There were allegations he started in 1984 – but that was never proven (and O’Dowd sure as hell tried!) and in any event, 1984 was after he accumulated 4,000 hits

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        P.S. don’t forget – the “sacred cow of evil” advertises in many Ball Parks – on the field no less. The Phillies post-game show broadcasts from the Sugar House Casino

      • bigharold - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        “But “lying through your teeth” has never been a dis-qualifier …”

        It is when you’re talking about MLB and gambling and your name is Pete Rose who took 20 years to admit something everybody already knew. . And to Brovo’s point, while you see a distinction between fixing games and gambling on baseball games, MLB doesn’t. Nor, does their rule. The rule, the consequence and the infraction are not in dispute. And, if you can’t enforce the rules in such an egregious case as Rose’s you might as well not have the rule in the first place.

        I really hope that Selig, .. one his way out the door, reinstates Rose so the next Commissioner doesn’t have to deal with it and the veterans committee can vote him in before he’s dead. But, as you point out, if he’d just admitted it in the first place, apologized and shut up he’d likely been reinstated by now. I think him being impatient about how long it’s taking MLB to reinstate him is a little galling considering it took 20 years for him to actually fess up. And, he really needs to shut up about the comparisons to his case versus PED users. He should just say that isn’t for me to compare because I’m so deeply involved. That would be not only an accurate, truthful, logical answer but a diplomatic one that could help him avoid any additional scrutiny. While one can argue the relative merits of which transgression is worse, he shouldn’t be the person arguing it. It looks like he still doesn’t get it.

      • nbjays - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        “There is really just one Cardinal Rule in the baseball rulebook, and it isn’t about doping or corked bats or the infield fly rule. It’s about gambling. Every player knows that gambling on baseball will lead to a lifetime ban. There is no question about it. Doesn’t matter if you’re Moonlight Graham or Pete Rose.”

        Unless, of course, your name is John Joseph McGraw. But he did it BEFORE the Black Sox scandal, so I guess that makes it alright.

      • bigharold - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        “Unless, of course, your name is John Joseph McGraw. But he did it BEFORE the Black Sox scandal, so I guess that makes it alright.”

        It doesn’t make it all right but the incident you refer to occurred 15 years before the Cardinal Rule was adopted, .. which was the direct result of the Black Sox scandal.

    • American of African Descent - Jul 26, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      You realize, DelawarePhilliesFan, that there’s a big difference between keeping someone out of the game because of their race (something that no one — save possibly Michael Jackson — has any control over), and keeping someone out of the game because they gambled, right?

      Good reason for keeping Rose out of the Hall of Fame? They want to make the penalty for gambling so serious that no one dares approach the line. People will abide a lot of things, but the idea that the game is fixed (see Quiz Show) is something that will absolutely destroy the brand.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 26, 2013 at 7:12 PM

        No I am not saying that. Look at the quote again. What I am saying is you can not say something is right just because it is in the rule books.

        As for a serious penatly for gambling – a 24 year and counting ban would not suffice? The Hall must be included, or guys will feel it is worth the risk?

        And again – and I invite anyone to take this up – if gambling is so destructive to the game, why do half the teams accept ad revenue from Casino’s? I thought the whole point was that having any gambling contact created a conflict. Please – someone explain what am I missing. Why is it okay for the Phillies to have a post game show broadcast from a casino?

      • American of African Descent - Jul 26, 2013 at 7:48 PM

        I don’t think that it’s gambling per se that’s the problem. It’s gambling by ball players because, when ball players gamble, it looks bad — it looks like they could be affecting the integrity of the game by taking a financial interest in performance.

        Say what you will about PEDs improving performance, but the PED user still has to hit the round ball with the round bat. When someone’s got a financial stake in the outcome of the game, it’s too easy to tank it, and what is billed as a sporting event becomes sports theater. Again, see Quiz Show.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 26, 2013 at 8:28 PM

        I don’t disagree with anything you are saying about a player gambling on the game. But that is not what happened with Rose. They tried like the dickens to show he gambled his last 2 years (of a 26 year career), and came away with nothing.

        So if he never gambled as a player, what is the issue? No one is suggesting he shold be a HOF manager. And if having a connection to gamblers as a manager is wrong, why is it okay to have it as an owner?

  2. thekcubrats - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Forget the gambling on outcomes while being a manager. Forget the sartorial atrocities. This is Mr. Greenie telling us that this particular version of PEDs is anathema. Where exactly did you get that Hustle, Charlie?

    • fissels - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Good point

    • junglerat524 - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

      His father.

    • yahmule - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      He knew he didn’t have very much else to offer. Also, he was more serious about football than baseball as a youngster and that gridiron mentality bled through to the diamond.

    • nyfan1967 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Greenies would give the same benefit as 5 hr energy and I know for a fact that players use that today.

      HGH builds muscle.


      • Liam - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        Take a 5 Hour Energy, then the next day take an adderall. Then the third day try to make the “same benefit” statement with a straight face.

      • raysfan1 - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        Another difference–amphetamines very effectively improve performance. HGH causes hypertrophy (increased muscle size) but has not been shown to increase strength in healthy people (source: Mayo Clinic).

      • paperlions - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        In addition, studies of the effects of HGH show that people that take HGH have reduced stamina and tire significantly more quickly than people that don’t take it.

    • raysfan1 - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Greenies and a corked bat and gambling. He really shouldn’t talk negatively about anything any other player did.

  3. yahmule - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    In that period just after his prime, until practically the end of his career, there were few athletes more overrated. That said, there’s no reason to bar him from enshrinement. Against all his most sincere efforts, he has emerged as a somewhat sympathetic figure to many fans.

  4. junglerat524 - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Pete belongs in the HOF end of story. Put him on the ballot & let the people who decide, decide like with the juicers. Either that or return all his stuff you have on display there.

  5. bigharold - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    “I bet,..”

    I see what you did there Craig, .. a Pete Rose post and you had to go for it.

  6. peopletrains - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Coming from a guy who corked his bat.

  7. Old Gator - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    If baseball wants you and if, like Braun and A-roid and Rose before them you’ve been stupid enough to leave a trail of evidence that would have choked the birds following Hansel and Gretel, yeah, baseball will get you.

  8. therealtrenches - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Lying *is* gambling.

    So, Craig, you think this quote is tied to a new angle Rose will float to try to get MLB to reconsider his case, huh?

    You’re really going out on a limb here, Captain Obvious.

  9. perryt200 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    no need to honor people at the Baseball Hall of Fame after they have a LIFETIME ban.

    let them vote on him after he is dead. then i hope for the integrity of the game he never gets in, but i have no problem with them voting then.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      I know this is a popular belief, but it’s not true. Rose has a permanent ban, not a lifetime ban. It does not end when he dies.

      • paperlions - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        In addition, a crap ton of people have been given permanent bans and then been reinstated.

      • perryt200 - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:39 AM

        “In addition, a crap ton of people have been given permanent bans and then been reinstated.”

        how many after gambling on baseball?

  10. modellforprez - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Huh? Is this fool smoking Hardball or what. if baseball wants to get you. like its some kind of conspiracy. hows about IF YOU DONT CHEAT BY GAMBLING OR DOPING YOU WONT GIVE BASEBALL A REASON TO “GET YOU” dummy

  11. nobody78 - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    One of the odd things about the PED issue is that it really forces us to question why it is we care about sports.

    You linked to the post about how PED use affects the livelihoods of lower tier players. In a way, that’s obviously more important than whether we get to enjoy Aaron’s pristine 755 instead of Bonds contaminated 762. It affects a person’s whole life and livelihood, and whether he can sustain himself and his family playing baseball.

    On the other hand, that’s clearly NOT what we invest most of our energy in when we talk and think about and discuss sports. If that were all it were, you wouldn’t have websites about it, you wouldn’t spend your evenings watching games in person or on TV. Were not watching because we want guys to be able to make a living. We’re watching because we love our teams and root for them, and because we occasionally get to see something really special. The records are one of the things we really love and remember, one of the things that makes baseball special to us. And frankly, if that WEREN’T the case, there wouldn’t be so many people who are able to make such a great living off of playing sports.

    We’d also like to think that most players view sports as something more important than a way for athletes to make money.. We want them to care about records and winning; we want them to love the game the same way we do. I think that at elast SOME of them do – and probably more than we admit in our more cynical moments. THe grace and competitive fire of Mariano Rivera, the joy of Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig in the way that approach the game, even the at-times awkward anger of a Paul O’Neill… they manifest it in different ways, but you get the sense these guys really CARE. That fact or illusion is CRUCIAL to our experience as fans.

    Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. Maybe we shouldn’t expect our athletes to have any virtues beyond athletic excellence. Maybe we shouldn’t care if they’re only out for a paycheck, as long as they perform. But I do care, and I believe that, for at least a lot of them, sports is something besides a way to make a profit. If I didn’t, well, I’d spend my spare time on something other than baseball.

    • yahmule - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Thank you. That was outstanding.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Enjoyed this comment, thank you. However;
      enjoy Aaron’s pristine 755

      Please don’t do this. Aaron took greenies. He admitted he took them. Steroids weren’t against baseball rules when Bonds took them, just like greenies weren’t against the rules when Aaron did. Either you think both cheated, or neither, but you can’t have it different for each person.

      • nobody78 - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:56 PM

        Agree. By “pristine,” I was trying to capture how people feel about the issue, not make a statement about Aaron.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        Gotcha, perfectly valid.

    • bigharold - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM


      Where is the hyperbole the snarky remarks the ersatz righteous indignation? A reasoned logical response with perspective?? You Sir, are just taking all the fun of of this discussion.

  12. pillowporkers - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    People always forget the fact that Pete Rose probably would be in the hall if wanted to be. He doesn’t want to apologize, or feel bad, or anything of the sort. He has stuck his proverbial middle finger at the MLB for the last however many years. THAT’s the reason he isn’t on the ballot, not because of his gambling. That was only the intitial reason.

  13. jlinatl - Jul 26, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    I think you have 2 issues with Rose:

    1. The precedent of how the sport will deal with someone gambling on the games. The arguements of how a manager could alter the race with pitching and other decisions have all been make many times over. I don’t think he did but I certainly believe he could. I think a precedent had to be set because, like it or not, what ever decision was made would be baseline by which future decisions will be made. Anyone using PEDs understands the potential penalty based upon the punishments that have been rendered. Similar here.

    2. He lied to investigators… and very publicly.

    I had the good fortune to meet and watch college football with Pete at the Sports Bar he owned in Boca in the 90’s. The place wasn’t busy so he was just hanging out with everone at the bar. He couldn’t have been nicer. I loved him as a player but he seems prone to escalating the issue as opposed to looking for a concillatory way to resolve it. The PEDs issue looks like it could become the next HOF week opportunitiy for him to try to move the spotlight back to him. Unfortunately, I don’t think it makes him look any better.

  14. wheels579 - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Pete Rose will be enshrined after he’s dead. He deserves nothing more for how he treated the game. His recent media tour is proof of that because he still doesn’t recognize the second chances he has had in the past 24 years. Separating Rose the player from Rose the manager doesn’t work because its the same person receiving the honor. Plus anybody who thinks Rose didn’t gamble on baseball as a player is kidding themselves. Got a problem with that? Blame Pete Rose.

  15. largebill - Jul 26, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    The comparison between gambling and PED’s is nonsensical. Even those who are strongly opposed to use of supplements, vitamins, etc have to admit any use of PED’s is for purpose of improving physical abilities or stamina, etc to improve play on field and help team win. Gambling, on other hand, is not always about improving or winning. There are a dozen ways where a manager who gambles on his team could end up hurting the teams by putting more emphasis on game he has large stake in winning. Beyond that there is the fact that association with gamblers is a problem because you can be coerced into throwing a game or point shaving etc.

  16. mikedi33 - Jul 26, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Pete Rose is not totally clean in the PED scandal either. The guy that ratted him out and his supposed best friend was the steroid “pusher” in the local gym and that is how they met. Pete Rose then brought this guy daily into the Reds clubhouse. The feds thought he was selling drugs to the reds players and that is what got the whole investigation going. The guy gave up Rose to the feds to get off selling steroids charges.

    • Reflex - Jul 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Thank you, I had to scan to the last comment on the page to see someone bring this up. Pete Rose is a *major* reason for steroid proliferation in baseball, he introduced members of his team to known steroid dealers and suggested to rookies that they go to a gym where use was rampant(and who’s owner was a friend of his) telling them to ‘bulk up’. ESPN had a great article about steroids and baseball and it significantly darkens any positive perceptions of Rose someone might have, I went in on the “let him in the hall but keep him off the field” and after reading it just feel like he needs to be forgotten.

      Rose is one of the worst figures to have played the game, he broke cardinal rules knowingly, was a rampant cheater himself, and introduced the modern era of cheating to young players aggressively. If anything, he should be in the HoF not only for his accomplishments, but for the cloud he helped bring over the sport, one we have not escaped from three decades later.

      (and no, I don’t agree with all the media hysteria on the subject, but at the same time the roles of Rose, Canseco and the complicity of managers like LaRussa and owners in creating this mess should not be downplayed)

  17. harbingeroftruth - Jul 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    For me the litmus test is this, if we visit the locker room of our student athletes (grade school, high school & college) how much illegal gambling contraband are we going to find compared to PEDs???? Somehow I dont think we have an out of controll gambling problem in our schools compared to drugs. So why is it that we can forgive active players , however, continue to Rose?

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2621)
  2. Y. Puig (2557)
  3. C. Correa (2556)
  4. B. Crawford (2441)
  5. G. Springer (2339)
  1. H. Pence (2318)
  2. H. Ramirez (2231)
  3. M. Teixeira (2214)
  4. J. Hamilton (2194)
  5. J. Baez (2172)