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Pete Rose on Questions About Statutory Rape Accusations: 'It Was 55 Years Ago, Babe'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 7, 2022

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Baseball legend Pete Rose declined to discuss an allegation of statutory rape dating back to the 1970s as he was on hand to celebrate the Philadelphia Phillies' 1980 World Series title.

"No, I’m not here to talk about that," he told Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Sorry about that. It was 55 years ago, babe."

Coffey shared more of Rose's comments:

Alex Coffey @byalexcoffey

(2/2) "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."

In July 2016, Rose filed a defamation lawsuit against John Dowd after Dowd alleged the 17-time All-Star had committed statutory rape while an active player. As part of his defense, Dowd obtained a sworn statement from a woman in July 2017 who said she had had a sexual relationship with Rose in the 1970s before she turned 16. He responded to the allegation by saying he did have a relationship with the woman, but it began when she was 16.

Rose and Dowd ultimately reached a settlement to drop the lawsuit in December 2017.

The Phillies planned to induct Rose into their Wall of Fame as part of its Alumni Weekend in August 2017. However, the team cited "recent events" in explaining why it would no longer be inducting Rose.

The organization addressed its decision to invite the 81-year-old ahead of Sunday's game against the Washington Nationals.

"In planning the 1980 reunion, we consulted with Pete’s teammates about his inclusion," the Phillies said July 24. "Everyone wants Pete to be part of the festivities since there would be no trophy in 1980 without him. In addition, the club received permission from the Commissioner’s Office to invite Pete as a member of the championship team."

Rose was a member of the Phillies for five years. The 1973 MVP remains MLB's all-time hit king, totaling 4,256 over his 24-year career.

Rose remains frozen out of the Baseball Hall of Fame, though, after getting banned from the game for life in 1989 for betting on games.

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