The Philadelphia Phillies announced on Wednesday that Pete Rose will not participate in Alumni Weekend events the team is holding from Aug. 10 to 13. The announcement came two days after an unidentified woman alleged in a deposition that she and Rose had a sexual relationship when she was 15. In a statement released by the Phillies, Rose said he was “concerned that other matters will overshadow the good will associated with” the festivities.
The deposition was filed on Monday in relation to Rose’s defamation lawsuit against John Dowd, whose 1989 investigation of Rose’s bets on baseball games resulted in Rose’s being barred from Major League Baseball for life. In the deposition, the woman making the claim about the sexual relationship said it occurred in the 1970s while she was under the age of 16. At the time, Rose was a member of the Cincinnati Reds, and the legal age of consent in Ohio was 16.
In court papers, Rose admitted to the relationship, but asserted that it began when the woman was 16. Monday’s filing also included an excerpt from the 1991 book “Collision at Home Plate: The Lives of Pete Rose and Bart Giamatti,” in which James Reston Jr. wrote about Rose having a 14-year-old girlfriend, and allegations from the former USA Today reporter Jill Lieber Steeg in a 2000 SportsCentury documentary that Rose had a sexual relationship with a high schooler.
As a special prosecutor for baseball, Dowd led the investigation into Rose’s gambling. Years later, during a 2015 radio interview, Dowd said that a memorabilia dealer, Michael Bertolini, had stated that Rose had girls as young as 12 brought to him during spring training. Bertolini denied telling Dowd this, and last year Rose sued for defamation.
Although his baseball career is mostly remembered for the 22 years he spent with the Cincinnati Reds as a player and manager before he was banned, Rose spent five seasons with Philadelphia, from 1979 to 1983. The Phillies made it to two World Series with Rose, winning in 1980, and he was named an All-Star in four of his five seasons with the club.
Rose was to have been honored with a bobblehead night and a place on the Phillies’ Wall of Fame during the Alumni Weekend. In June the Reds unveiled a statue outside their stadium depicting him in his trademark headfirst slide, and he was inducted into the Reds’ Hall of Fame in 2016.
Rose has had a bit of a professional renaissance the last few years, despite a decision by baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, late in 2015 to keep the ban on him in place. That same year, Rose was hired by Fox as a guest baseball analyst, and received generally positive reviews for his performance. In 2016 his role expanded to include appearances on “MLB Whiparound,” as well as in the studio, throughout the baseball season. He was a part of the team awarded an Emmy for outstanding studio show, for “MLB on Fox: The Postseason.”
But the latest court filings may force 21st Century Fox to again confront questions about allegations against its employees. Last month, Fox Sports fired the programming chief Jamie Horowitz amid a sexual harassment probe, and Fox News is still reeling from a sexual harassment scandal.