Hit King In Exile
The MLB record holder, with 4,256 hits, was banned from baseball on Aug. 24, 1989, for betting on games. At 72, Rose is still hoping to be reinstated and finally voted into the Hall of Fame
DAN PATRICK:Was there any other option other than a lifetime ban back in 1989?
PETE ROSE: I left that in the lawyers' hands. If you watched my press conference when I was suspended, I said I can't wait for a year so I can apply for reinstatement. I guess I was wrong. I have no idea why my lawyers would okay a lifetime ban.
DP:When's the last time you met with [MLB commissioner] Bud Selig?
PR: Several years ago. I thought I was going to get reinstated. You know as well as I do the guy who shot the Pope got a second chance. So there are second chances out there. I just chose the wrong vice. If I'd been a guy on drugs or a spouse abuser, I'd have been reinstated a long time ago.
DP:Did you manipulate the games you bet on in any way?
PR: I tried everything I could every night to win. I told the guy [I bet with] before the season I want my team every night and we'll settle up at the end of the year. That was my first year without playing. Managing wasn't enough. I needed more. The more was betting on my team every night.
DP:What's worse, PEDs or betting on baseball?
PR: They're both bad. But baseball records are very sacred. If someone ever got 4,257 hits and it was linked to steroids, I'd have a lot to say. If you're breaking the rules, I don't think a 50-game suspension is much. I got 30 days for pushing an umpire.
DP:Were you offered steroids when you were playing?
PR: No, when I was playing, they were used by the Olympic weightlifters. Then again, that's a damn good question. I don't know what would have happened if someone had said to me in 1970, Pete, take these and you'll hit 20 more home runs and have 30 points more on your average and make $2 million, $3 million a year. I think I would have said, How are my liver and kidneys going to hold up?
DP:Who should get into the Hall of Fame sooner, you or Barry Bonds?
PR: Me, because I've been waiting 23 years. I think it's an unfair comparison because one alters the game of baseball and the other hurts no one but your family and yourself.
DP:Do you think you'll get in before you die?
PR: I still haven't given up on Bud Selig. It ain't going to help me a damn bit if I'm dead. When [former commissioner Bart] Giamatti told me I needed to reconfigure my life, I misunderstood him. I thought that meant no more illegal gambling. What he meant was take responsibility for what I did. I did take responsibility. But there are still people who won't let it go.
Phil Mickelson told me paleontologist Jack Horner inspired his British Open win by sharing the story of how he found the first-ever dinosaur embryo: "People had found eggs before, but nobody had the guts to break the egg to find the embryo. He did.... It got me thinking, I'm playing some of my best golf, but I have to think outside the box and refocus." ... Dodgers utilityman Skip Schumaker explained why he's been outspoken about suspended Brewers slugger Ryan Braun. "He kicked our butt a lot of years," Schumaker said. "Wins and losses were changed because of what he did. That's what's frustrating." ... Falcons QB Matt Ryan on throwing an incomplete pass to Roddy White on the final play of the NFC title game, when Tony Gonzalez appeared to be open: "When you watch it, yeah, definitely [I would have gone to Gonzalez]. But from the presnap look, I think I went to the right side."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
ROBIN MARCHANT/WIREIMAGE (ROSE)
THOMAS LOVELOCK FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MICKELSON)
JUSTIN K. ALLER/GETTY IMAGES (SCHUMAKER)
DAVID BERGMAN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (RYAN)