Pete Rose declined to answer two reporters’ questions today about his relationship with an alleged underage girl in his first return to Philadelphia since August 1989.
Rose was present as the team celebrated the Phillies’ 1980 World Series championship team and other former players.
The incidents in question first surfaced in 2017. A woman who has remained unidentified said Rose, then a member of the Cincinnati Reds, initiated a relationship with her in 1973, when she was age 14 and 15. They later allegedly had sexual encounters in Cincinnati that lasted several years. She also alleged Rose met her in locations outside Ohio for sex.
At the time, Rose was in his mid-30s and was married with two children.
Rose’s lawyer had said the woman’s claims are unverified. Rose said in 2017 that he did have a relationship with the woman, but he said it started when she was 16. He also said they never had sex outside Ohio, where the age of consent was 16.
The Phillies had planned to honor Rose in 2017, but scrapped those plans when the allegations surfaced. In addressing the issue Sunday, Rose dismissed it.
“It was 55 years ago, babe,” Rose told Alex Coffey, a female baseball writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Who cares what happened 50 years ago?” Rose said. “You weren’t even born. So you shouldn’t be talking about it, because you weren’t born. If you don’t know a damn thing about it, don’t talk about it.”
He later rebuffed an AP reporter with similar questions.
Rose, now 81, declined to answer any other questions in the dugout.
The reporter tweeted later Sunday and claimed Rose asked her if he had offended her and offered to “sign 1,000 baseballs” for forgiveness. She claimed he said he was “sorry” to her.
Rose received a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in August 1989 for betting on his Cincinnati Reds team when he was a player/manager.
Rose received a standing ovation from Phillies fans when he walked onto the Citizens Bank Park field Sunday. He got 826 of his MLB record 4,256 hits during his five years playing for the Phillies from 1979 to 1983.