Why did Pete Rose bet on baseball and then lie about it for nearly 15 years? The notorious baseball legend is answering questions from ABCNEWS viewers.
For details on Rose's confession to betting check out:
• Rose's interview with Charlie Gibson on Primetime.
• Read an excerpt from his book.
Question: "Way to go Pete, the truth has set you free. Doesn't it feel good?"
Answer: Well, I'm just glad that everybody doesn't have to go through what I put myself through the past 14 years. And to take that strain and lift if off my shoulders is a great thing. Now I have a job to do, to try and win back the respect of any fans I may have lost through this whole ordeal.
Question: "Why did you deny allegations that you did bet on baseball before and decide now to tell the truth?"
Answer: That was my first and biggest mistake not fessing up in 1990. There's several reasons, I think one reason is you're scared for your family, when our looking at a gentleman [baseball commissioner] to be honest with you, that could give you life or you say 'no' and I just happened to say 'no, no prove it.' ['life' for Rose means a lifetime ban from baseball]
And then the whole investigation went down and here we are in 2004, it just seems that time flew by — but you're absolutely right that I shouldn't have denied it in 1989 but because of the lying situation you kind of stick to you guns. And even that, you realize that you're wrong. I never had a passion to tell the person I needed to tell that I was wrong, that being the commissioner of baseball.
In 1990 that was a rocky road, Giamatti dying after suspending me … then Fay Vincent being fired … then Bud [Selig] filling in. … when Bud became the full commissioner, two months after that was when I sent him a letter. But up until that time we never got a response when we tried to call him, so I was put in limbo for 8 or 9 years."
Question: "If you had a chance to re-answer for the first time as to whether you bet on baseball, what would you say?"
Answer: Oh yeah, going through what I went through, knowing what I know today, realizing this situation you would have to take your chances and just plead for mercy on the spot.
I think the thing that happened to me, looking back, I'm not so sure that this whole situation would have been different if Bart Giamatti had lived, down deep. I got along with Bart pretty good before this happened, and I think when he put that clause in there that I could apply for reinstatement in a year, had I been remorseful in that time, if he had lived I think he may have given me a chance.
Once Fay Vincent took over he made it clear to me, or to the press, that he didn't want to have anything to do with me, put it on the back burner — which is fine, which is his prerogative as commissioner of baseball.… But we'll never know, that's just me speaking because of my relationship with Bart Giamatti.
No one ever asked what was my relationship with Bart Giamatti. We used to talk about baseball a lot as a player and a commissioner, just talk about the game, what could we do to help the game, where's the game going, he was pretty good.
Question: "Have you ever received professional help with your gambling problem?"