THE ROSE PROBE
Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth announced on Monday that his office "has for several months been conducting a full inquiry into serious allegations" about Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose. Ueberroth, who on Feb. 20 summoned Rose from spring training in Florida to New York City for an unspecified purpose, did not divulge the nature of the inquiry, but SI has been told that the commissioner has information that Rose may have bet on baseball games. Under major league rules, if Rose bet on games in which his team was not involved, he would be suspended for one year. If he bet on games in which his team was involved, he would be banned for life.
One man linked to possible baseball betting with Rose is Ron Peters, the owner of Jonathan's Cafe in Franklin, Ohio, 40 miles north of Cincinnati. Alan Statman, an attorney for Peters, describes Peters as Rose's "principal bookmaker" and approached SI last week in hopes of selling Peters's story. Statman told SI's Jill Lieber and Martin F. Dardis that he and his client had been asked by Kevin Hallinan, baseball's security chief, "if we had information on Pete Rose betting on baseball. We said we can supply that information." Statman said Hallinan "told me that if we could deliver what we say we could, in general, that means Pete Rose could be banned from baseball." Statman said Peters would not tell his story to baseball authorities without first selling it to a publication. SI declined to buy Peters's story.
Another man said by sources to have been involved with Rose in baseball betting is Paul Janszen, a bodybuilder friend of Rose's. Janszen pleaded guilty in January to a charge of evading taxes on income from the sale of steroids and is serving a six-month sentence in a Cincinnati halfway house. Janszen recently discussed with SI the possible sale of a story about Rose. Although SI did not buy the story, a source with knowledge of Janszen's dealings with federal investigators said that while in the dugout at Riverfront Stadium, Rose exchanged signals somehow relating to baseball betting with Janszen, who was in the stands. And a fellow weightlifter told SI he heard Janszen using a phone at Gold's gym in suburban Cincinnati to place baseball bets he understood had come from Rose.
"Janszen used to come into the gym, pull out a newspaper and go over all the baseball games," the weightlifter said. "He'd mark them with a pen, then he'd go into the office and phone in bets for Pete Rose. He never said he was doing it for Pete. But that's what the talk was around the gym."
Rose makes no secret of his passion for betting at the racetrack, but he told SI he has never wagered with bookies on any sport. "I'd be willing to bet you, if I was a betting man, that I have never bet on baseball," he said. A former handyman and friend of Rose's, Chuck Beyersdoerfer, says Rose did place bets through a bookie on football and basketball games and that the Reds skipper kept three TV sets going at once in his living room to monitor the action. And Michael Fry, a former co-owner of Gold's now serving an eight-year federal prison sentence for cocaine trafficking and income-tax evasion, told SI's Bruce Selcraig that he heard a crony of Rose's, Tommy Gioiosa, regularly place bets to bookies on college and pro basketball and football games; Fry said he understood those bets to be for Rose. According to Fry, Rose, who promoted Gold's in various ways, including a newspaper ad identifying the establishment as Pete Rose's Gold's Gym, said he never bet baseball. But Fry said Rose often talked about which baseball teams would be good to bet on. Gioiosa identifies himself as a professional gambler but says he never placed bets for Rose.
Rose denied knowing Peters and said, "I don't know if I've ever been to Jonathan's or any other cafè." However, three people told ST they have seen Rose in Jonathan's; two of them said they saw him in Peters's company. Asked why Rose would make a trek to an eatery in Franklin, Peters cracked, "He liked my beer."
If Rose is found to have bet on baseball, it could jeopardize his otherwise certain election to the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 1992. Reds owner Marge Schott, asked if Rose had bet on the national pastime, spoke for all of baseball when she said. "I hope not. I hope not. God, I hope not."
THE UNKINDEST CUT
For the last eight years James Kopf has dressed up as Cubby bear, an unofficial, unpaid mascot of the Chicago Cubs during spring training. Accompanied by Max the mongrel, Cubby had become a regular at the team's HoHoKam Park in Mesa, Ariz. Alas, over the winter, when Kopf asked permission to return this season, HoHoKam officials played hardball: No, they said, "due to potential liability and other considerations."
Rather than take the rebuff sitting down, Cubby and 12 of his mascot brethren—including Sparky, the Sun Devil mascot from nearby Arizona State University; the Phoenix Suns' gorilla; and Prickly Pete Cactus, from a local sporting-goods store—picketed HoHoKam before the Cubs faced the Oakland Athletics on March 16. Kopf and Company carried signs saying MASCOTS ARE PEOPLE TOO and generally lent interest to what turned out to be a 6-0 Chicago loss. "I don't think a mascot is as important as a 20-game winner," says the 30-year-old Kopf, "but it was fun for the kids."
On one hand there was Bill Frieder, unable to wait until his University of Michigan basketball team's season had ended before announcing that he would be taking a much higher paying job at Arizona State (page 18). On the other there was Ed Zubrow, the football coach at Pennsylvania. Zubrow, who was appointed coach three years ago at age 35 and led the Quakers to a 23-7 record, including two Ivy League crowns, was on coaching's fast track. With another one or two such sterling seasons, he would have been ripe for a Division I-A job, a bigger salary, his own TV show....
Instead, Zubrow resigned last week. Next month he starts work as a special assistant to the superintendent of the Philadelphia school system. He will coordinate programs to prevent drug abuse and dropouts. "Please don't make me out to be Saint George looking to slay the dragon," said Zubrow. "I just saw this as a chance to solve some problems more pressing than Harvard's base defense. I live in West Philly, and I see lives ruined by drugs, whole communities in danger of being swallowed up. I started to realize that it's not somebody else's problem."
WHO'S ON TRIAL?
Among the questions arising from testimony at the federal trial of sports agents Lloyd Bloom and Norby Walters, now in its third week in Chicago, is: What does it take to get your scholarship revoked at Michigan State? Under cross-examination by defense attorney Dan Webb, former Spartans wide receiver Mark Ingram, who now plays for the New York Giants, admitted that, during his junior year, he had served 30 days of a 90-day sentence for breaking and entering. Ingram did not lose his scholarship. "I did not consider it desirable behavior, but I don't think it was enough to lose a scholarship," said former MSU faculty athletic representative Gwendolyn Norrell.
The charges against Bloom and Walters include extortion, mail fraud and racketeering. If convicted, each faces a maximum 70 years in jail and $2 million in fines. The two allegedly paid players to sign contracts with them while the players still had collegiate eligibility, thereby defrauding universities who had given them scholarships. According to testimony, when the athletes tried to back out of their contracts, Walters and Bloom threatened to have them maimed.
But Bloom and Walters are not the only ones on trial in Chicago, even though they are the only ones at risk of being convicted. Webb ticked off the classes taken at Iowa by former Hawk-eye defensive back Devon Mitchell, who now plays for the Detroit Lions. They included ancient athletics, billiards, jogging, recreational leisure, advanced bowling and advanced slo-pitch softball. An Iowa athletic official also admitted that after three years at Iowa, running back Ronnie Harmon, who did not graduate and is now with the Buffalo Bills, had taken only one course toward his major, computer science.
Former Michigan fullback Rob Perryman, now a New England Patriot, testified that when coach Bo Schembechler asked him if he had signed with an agent—as Schembechler had heard he had—Perryman lied and said no. "I had no other ties to Bo," Perryman said, "so I didn"t have to tell him the truth anyway."
As Webb had said before the trial began, "This case will be based on testimony from prominent men and women who will talk about the preservation of amateur athletics. I intend to attack the hypocrisy of this sanctimonious, holier-than-thou position."
Last Friday should have been Dave Tittlemeyer's day. A pitcher for Division III Spring Garden College of Philadelphia, Tittlemeyer gave up only one hit and struck out six batters in six innings as the Bobcats beat St. Mary's College of Maryland, 4-1. But one of the Seahawks he held hitless was first baseperson Julie Croteau, who went a historic 0 for 3 en route to becoming the first woman to play NCAA baseball. Croteau was not one of Tittlemeyer's strikeout victims, and she impressed Spring Garden coach Jack Bilbee with the way she "hung in there'" on two-strike counts.
Last year Croteau was cut from the Osbourn Park High team in Manassas, Va., and lost a $100,000 sex-discrimination suit against the school. The 5'7", 129-pound Croteau had less trouble playing for the Seahawks. "Her skills enabled her to make the team," said coach Hal Willard. "It was that simple."
Croteau had butterflies before Friday's game, but she cleanly fielded all six of her chances before being replaced in the top of the sixth inning. Says teammate Charley Bolen, "After the first practice, you forgot she was a girl. That's an honest statement."
HOCKEY NIGHT IN BATTLE CREEK
Roger Gibson was tinkering in his basement one winter afternoon 15 years ago when he accidentally spilled a can of white paint across the floor. Suddenly, a vision splashed across his mind. "I added a blue line here and a red line there," says Gibson. "Before I knew it, there were boards, three tiers of seats, a press box, penalty box, luxury boxes, lights, benches, a scoreboard, concessions stands, players and fans."
The result? Call it the Three-um, that third of the basement in Gibson's Battle Creek, Mich., home that has been devoured by a 12-foot-long and seven-foot-wide facsimile of the Montreal Forum. The "ice" surface—now countless coats of high-gloss paint—is peopled by Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs, all fashioned from the pliable skeletons of Pink Panther dolls. In one net is Montreal Hall of Famer Ken Dryden in a characteristic pose, his hands and chin resting on his stick, his gaze forever fixed on the puck in Toronto's zone.
"I just love hockey," says Gibson, a 59-year-old salesman for a building-supply company. "To me the Canadiens—Richard, Bèliveau and the rest—have always been the class and color of the NHL. The CH on their sweaters is like the Yankees' NY. Besides, it would have taken too long to paint the Detroit Red Wings' emblem at center ice."
Indeed, construction of the Three-um has taken long enough: The first paint was dropped at 1 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 9, 1974. "I can't seem to remember my wife's birthday," says Gibson, "but I can still remember when all of this started."
The Three-um includes a functioning 400-bulb scoreboard, TV cameras, sparkplug advertisements along the boards, and a remote-control mini-Zamboni, which comes complete with a cigar-smoking driver. Says Gibson, "All Zamboni drivers smoke cigars—have you noticed?" The Plexiglas above the boards is made from small panes of the real thing. "I haven't spent more than $1,000," says Gibson, "but if I were paid by the hour, it would come to a staggering amount."
Gibson has never been to Montreal, so it's understandable if the arena beneath the house at 181 Rebecca Road isn't completely faithful to the original on Ste. Catherine Street West. For instance, the real Forum doesn't have MONTREAL FORUM stenciled near center ice. And unlike their wire-and-papier-m‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¢chè counterparts, the actual flesh-and-blood Canadiens haven't seen the cellar in years.
Rose would bet you that he never bet on baseball.
First baseperson Croteau was flawless in the field.
A spilled can of white paint gave rise to Gibson's fabulous Three-um.
THEY SAID IT
•Bart Giamatti, president of the National League and baseball's commissioner-elect, to U.S. senators pressing him on the subject of expansion: "I'm strongly in favor of expansion. I favor three senators per state."