After denying it for nearly 15 years, sports legend Pete Rose is admitting that he bet on baseball and on his own team while managing the Cincinnati Reds.
"I bet on baseball in 1987 and 1988," the baseball great told ABCNEWS' Charles Gibson in an interview on Primetime Thursday.
"That was my mistake, not coming clean a lot earlier," he said.
The revelation is also expected to be included in Rose's new autobiography published by Rodale, My Prison Without Bars, which is to be released the same day.
In his interview with Primetime, Rose says he bet on his own team, but never against it.
"I believed in my team. I knew my team. It never altered the way I tried to run the game," he said.
He says betting against his own team was the last thing he considered, "because I want to win every game."
And he also says he bet without taking into consideration how drastic the penalties would be, or believing he'd get caught. Rose was banned from baseball in 1989, a move that made him ineligible for the Hall of Fame.
"You don't think you're going to get caught," he said. He said he didn't think he was special, or above the law.
"I think what happens is you're, at the time, you're betting football and then, then what's after football is basketball … and obviously the next thing that follows is baseball. It's just a pattern that you got into."
The admission could open the door for Rose to be reinstated by Major League Baseball and voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Over a three-decade career in baseball, Rose earned the nickname "Charlie Hustle" for his aggressive play and desire to win. He set dozens of records — including breaking Ty Cobb's record for the most hits ever. That achievement, on Sept. 11, 1985, earned him a nine-minute ovation.
But in 1989, reports emerged that Rose, then the Reds' manager, was gambling on baseball. After a six-month investigation by Major League Baseball, he agreed to leave baseball for life. Under the agreement, he would not have to admit or deny that he bet on Major League Baseball, and he could apply for reinstatement after a year.
Rose says he regrets lying to baseball officials in 1989. "People have to understand I wish this would have never happened," he said. "But I can't change it, it's happened. And sitting here in my position, you're just looking for a second chance."
He hopes to be reinstated by Major League Baseball now that he has admitted his past mistakes and insists he no longer gambles illegally. "The farthest thing from my mind right now is making a bet on anything," he said.
"When I look you in the eye and tell you that that phase of my life is gone and will never come back, I mean that with all the sincerity in the world. I owe baseball. Baseball don't owe me a damn thing."
‘Time to Take Responsibility’
Asked why he finally decide to admit he bet on baseball, Rose said, "It's time to clean the slate, it's time to take responsibility … I'm 14 years late."
Rose told Gibson he took so long to make his admission because he "never had the opportunity to tell anybody that was going to help me."
The baseball commissioner at the time, Bart Giamatti, died just a week after banning Rose.
"I couldn't get a response from baseball for 12 years. It's like I died and, and they knew I died and they didn't want to bring me back. They were just going to let me rot," said Rose.