I can't remember, I wish I could remember the first time I bet on baseball. Maybe I don't want to remember, people find that hard to believe. We're talking about something that happened in 1987 … and the reasoning is that I'm so good with numbers. If you ask any player who they got their first hit off they can tell you … not number two.
For something to think that I can remember when I first bet on baseball I can't — and I'm not trying to duck the question I just can't. And it's kind of immaterial what I did to be honest, the fact is that I did, and I did that on baseball … not when, or how often. I don't think any of those things are important.
Question: Do you think that you were alone in your gambling problem? As personal as it was for you, do you think that other player/managers in sports frequently make wagers on games?
Answer: I'm not a naive person, but I'm not going to sit here and tell you other people gamble. I really don't know, if you're going to go on statistics, you have to remember, fans have to remember, and it doesn't make it right, athletes are humans too. Athletes make mistakes too. Not knowing one way or another I can't answer that question but speculation you'd have to think there's a chance they gamble because they make so much money. Just like you have to think they take steroids, the only ones I know who take steroids are Jose Conseco and Ken Caminiti, but until anyone steps forward I can't say they do.
Personally I don't think baseball has any kind of a gambling problem. And I'm pretty close to the situation — my son being a baseball player, I don't think there's any kind of gambling problem in the world of baseball, just from knowing people I don't think there's a problem in football or basketball. Now that doesn't mean that everyone is a goody goody, but I think players understand that they have too much to lose.
Question: It seems baseball is more sensitive to your gambling problem than Steve Howe or Darryl Strawberry's drug problems?
Answer: I think to be honest with you, I kind of chose the wrong vice because of 1919, to my knowledge, baseball does not have a rehab program for gamblers. They have a rehab program for drugs, alcohol, spousal problems. I guess that's the situation that we're talking about, they don't think there's any kind of problem, I'm not going to disagree with them, but you do get a lot of chances in the three I mentioned.
Question: Why do you think you should be let back into baseball after you bet on baseball? MLB has to have some rules that they stick by.
Answer: Well, he makes a good point, but I think if he understands that I understand how big a mistake I made, if he understands how sorry I am that I made that mistake, most people are willing to give someone a second chance.
This is America, and unless he's one of those gentlemen … and doesn't believe in giving someone a second chance, I mean that's why I wrote my book to try and let people hear me about the situation because I'm the only one who really knew what went on — you can hear it from me. And I would be very surprised if he read the book that he would conclude that statement.