PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pete Rose dismissed questions Sunday about his first appearance on the field in Philadelphia since the franchise scrapped 2017 plans to honor him because of a woman’s claim she had a sexual relationship with baseball’s hit king when she was a minor.
The 81-year-old Rose received a standing ovation from Phillies fans – many not even born or too young to remember baseball’s hit king in his prime – when he walked onto the Citizens Bank Park field for the first time since he received a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in August 1989.
“They made me feel real good today,” Rose said of the cheers. “I don’t want to say I expected it. I guess I did expect it from Philly fans. That’s the way they are. They love their sports heroes.”
Rose’s already stained reputation suffered another blow in 2017 when the Phillies called off a planned induction into the team’s Wall of Fame because of the sexual misconduct accusations levied against him. Rose brusquely responded to the reporter’s question before the game – and later apologized to her following Sunday’s ceremony after initially saying, “ will you forgive me if I sign 1,000 baseballs for you?” – and was just as combative on the topic after the pregame celebration.