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Rose Enjoys the Cheers at a Memorable Moment

October 24, 2002|Steve Springer | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Pete Rose called it a night for "goose bumps."

On a chilly night at Pacific Bell Park before the fourth game of the World Series, Pete Rose, who has received a cold shoulder from baseball since he was banished for gambling, got a warm welcome from both Commissioner Bud Selig and the fans.

"He talked to me and was very cordial," said Rose, who was being honored for breaking Ty Cobb's record of 4,191 hits in 1985.

Rose's feat was sixth among the top-10 moments in baseball history as voted by 1.1 million fans in season-long balloting.

"It was unbelievable," Rose said of the huge ovation and chants of "Hall of Fame" from the fans when he was introduced. "You never know what to expect from the fans. I know I've got the fans in Cincinnati on my side. But the reception I got here in San Francisco was so rewarding.

"They understand I made a mistake. I understand I made a mistake. Maybe baseball finally understands I made a mistake."

Rose, who cannot be voted into the Hall of Fame unless baseball reinstates him, has been kept at arm's length from league functions. Although reporters requested his presence in the interview room at Pac Bell Park Wednesday, baseball officials declined the request.

Rose spoke with two reporters in the Angel dugout after the ceremony but was escorted away before he could talk to dozens more clamoring for a quote.

"I just hope baseball will let me get on with my life," Rose said. "Anybody would have to say my name is synonymous with baseball. I'm not going to badmouth baseball."

Rose said Wednesday at Pac Bell was neither the time nor the place to deal with his status in baseball.

But asked about a player taking the field as he exited, Rose had no hesitation about offering an opinion.

"Barry Bonds," he said, "is one of the top five to ever play the game."

And then Rose disappeared into the crowd.

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