I have written a couple of articles in the past expressing my opinion that Pete Rose should not be in Cooperstown. And for the matter, that’s an absolute joke of a statue in front of Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. For this article, let’s forget about the sex with an underage girl and all of the other atrocities that Rose has committed. Let’s look at one simple question. Did Rose bet against the Reds to win? Rose fans have a hard time buying this. The guy played so hard and hustled. He would never bet against his own team to win. Do you want to bet on that? For anybody over the age of 50, the prevailing way to play in the 1970s was to hustle. Baseball was different back then. The players played hard, there were no sissies in the 1970s, especially on the Big Red Machine.
Did Rose bet against the Reds?
I think he did but I will keep my personal opinion out of this. Maybe that’s the one thing he has been truthful about in this matter. The fact is that somebody who is addicted to gambling is very unlikely not to bet on what he knows best. People always tell me that Rose never bet as a player, only as a manager. That was proven to be simply not true a couple of years ago. Rose bet as a player/manager in 1986. The most disturbing gambling was done in 1987, when as a manager, Rose claimed he only bet on his own team to win.
Over a two-month period during the 1987 MLB season, Rose did bet on the Reds to win almost every game they played. The key word here is ALMOST! I found four games that he did not bet on. Those four games are what we will examine.
The four games Rose did not bet on the Reds to win
The four that Rose didn’t bet on the Reds were all started by Bill Gullickson. The problem comes when you realize this. If he bet the Reds to win every night, then the four nights he didn’t bet on the Reds would send up a gigantic red flag. The gamblers would know that Rose wasn’t betting on the Reds, so this may be the right time to bet against them. You might say Rose was still trying to win those games, and yes, maybe he was, but if you take a closer look at the games in question it becomes even more disturbing.
June 20th, 1987 Braves 8 Reds 6
Gullickson starts and gives up seven runs before Rose replaces him with relievers Bill Landrum and Frank Williams. Both are decent pitchers. The Reds cut the lead to 8-6 after seven innings. But instead of bringing in one of his better pitchers, Rose chose to bring in Bill Scherrer, who had at that time had an ERA of over 12. Follow along here. By using his pitchers this way, it sets up the next night for him to have his best relief pitchers fresh. And yes, he bet on that game!
July 16th, 1987 Mets 9 Reds 0
Gullickson gave up five runs before being pulled. Take a guess who replaced him? None other than Bill Scherrer. The Reds were facing Dwight Gooden in this game so I think we can give Rose a pass on this one.
July 26th, 1987 Expos 6 Reds 0
Gullickson is allowed to stay in the game and gives up six runs. Who finishes the rest of the game you might ask? Will, it’s none other than Bill Scherrer. Surprised? The Reds rotation is set up perfectly for the Reds in the next game. Rose put a bet down.
August 1st, 1987 Giants 6 Reds 0
Gullickson gives up six runs. By now you know who replaced him. Yep, Bill Scherrer finishes the game.
I know it’s hard to accept when your hero is shown to be fallible, but come on people, use some common sense. If Rose only bets on the Reds to win, maybe you have a point. But then there are the games he doesn’t bet on them. That’s a big problem. He was signaling with his “no bet” to gamblers how he felt about the Reds chances. If he knows he is betting the next night, why wouldn’t he set up his rotation to give his team the best chance to win?
At the end of the day, betting on the game is baseball’s ultimate taboo. It has the potential, as nothing else does, of wrecking the sport…It calls into question the integrity of the competition. If that trust disappears, the game of baseball disappears.