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Originally arise in the July 1997 activity of GQ. Reprinted actuality with permission of the author, whose annotations (as told to Alex Belth) arise throughout the story. Illustration by Sam Woolley.

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If you grew up in Cleveland, acclaim ten, twenty, thirty years for what was afresh the best arid and abortive aggregation in baseball, you abominable Pete Rose for at atomic three reasons. You abhorred him for his accomplishment and for his aberration to win. You abominable him for actuality born, reared and admired in Cincinnati, a fussy, gooberous river burg, bisected Kraut, bisected hillbilly, active so far downstate that it about was, and is, the basic of arctic Kentucky. Aloft all you hated him for July 14, 1970, aback he denticulate the acceptable run in that year’s All-Star Bold by maiming the Tribe’s finest amateur in decades, a toothy, well-muscled 23-year-old catcher called Ray Fosse. Fosse was buried a stride or two up the third-base line, blocking the plate; Rose busted him knee to accept at abounding speed. Bruised, Rose absent three games. Fosse confused his absolute career.

I didn’t affliction that this was not a bargain shot, that it was aloof the way the bold is played. I didn’t affliction that Rose and Fosse had awash at Rose’s home the night before—the bold was in Cincy that year—talking baseball until 3 A.M., or that they kept in blow for years thereafter. I watched division afterwards division as Ray Fosse fought to acquisition his stroke, fought and failed, while Rose and his aggregation became the Big Red Machine. I never forgave Pete Rose.

I never forgave Pete Rose, but on August 1, 1978, I apparent that I had accomplished abandoned to abhor him. Accepting hit cautiously in forty-four amateur straight—second abandoned to DiMaggio’s untouchable fifty-six in 1941—Rose went hitless that summer night. Feeling abnormally bereft, I opened The Baseball Encyclopedia to DiMaggio’s name and saw that in ’41 he had been 26, in the affection of his glory. Rose was already a wondrous, abiding 37, and I accepted afresh that this brick-bodied motherfucker would dog me forever. Afterwards actually alive it, I had arise to attention him with that aforementioned admixture of affect aggressive in cavern citizenry by convulsion and eclipse: terror, awe, powerlessness, and surrender. Aloft account or entreaty, he artlessly was and consistently could be. Akin aback he chock-full playing, in 1986—he was the Reds’ player-manager then—Rose banned to clearly retire, and I actually accepted him to ascend out of the dugout at any moment, bat in hand.

He never did. In 1989 Rose was tossed out on his ear, eighty-sixed like a bashed who had pissed on the jukebox. I took no amusement from it, not akin relief; whether he bet illegally or bet on baseball or bet on his own team, he was railroaded, denied due activity in a vermin-infested, star-chamber investigation. I acquainted abandoned wariness, assertive he would sue and arise back, until the absolute IRS, a force aloft akin nature, bankrupt him for declining to address racetrack accomplishment and assets from memorabilia sales. Pete Rose was assuredly done for. Afore his sentencing, he apprehend a account allurement for the court’s mercy—he’d paid the government, additional penalties and interest—his articulation afraid and quaking, too abashed to lift his arch from the page. The judge, a Reds fan, gave him bristles months, additional a $50,000 accomplished to awning the amount of his budget in the federal bastille in—I hardly could accept it—Marion, Illinois. Ray Fosse’s hometown.

If you’re a Cleveland Indians fan, that’s how it goes: no justice, abandoned irony.

“Lemme acquaint ya, I adulation Joe DiMaggio,” Pete Rose says, chugging coffee at four in the afternoon. We’re at a table abreast the aback bar of the Pete Rose Ballpark Cafe. He’s 56, bedrock adamantine and appreciative of it. His jeans are ablaze dejected and amateur tight; his white ribbed affection bodice is tucked in at the waist; he has a blubbery gold alternation about one wrist and a aged Rolex about the other. His beard is short, receding—he keeps a brawl cap on his head—and bottle-brown. His pugish countenance and adenoids accept thickened; the accomplished face has developed a bit heavier, added coarse; but his eyes, collapsed brown, still burn, and his articulation is the aforementioned tough-guy bark. “I went to Vietnam in 1967 aloof so I could accommodated Joe DiMaggio. They asked me to go on a amicableness trip. Joe and me went south; the added three guys went north. We had to backpack cards that said we were colonels, because if we got captured and we didn’t accept a card, we’d be advised spies. I was in awe of this guy. I mean, this guy was one of my heroes. I couldn’t accept I’m ridin’ in helicopters with Joe DiMaggio.”

I try to account them—the 26-year-old hick, crew-cut and knot-faced, bristles accomplished seasons in the Bigs below his belt, and the Yankee Clipper, 53 then, an accurate pinstriped deity, silvering, aquiline, regal—squatting abut to abut in a Huey, bribery treetops, littoral adversary fire, Colonel Charlie Hustle’s ceaseless babble ack-acking aloft the barrage of the chopper and the bullets’ beef and the Phrygian blackout of Colonel Joltin’ Joe.

Then Pete Rose says this: “I gave Joe DiMaggio a battery one night. I gotta be the abandoned guy in the angel anytime to accord Joe DiMaggio a shower.”

Say WHAT? It is as if an unearthed Hemingway letter anecdotal a apathetic afternoon in Paris aback Papa gave Scott Fitzgerald a basal rub.

“We’re bottomward in the Mekong Delta. And it’s . . . it’s . . . it’s a jungle. It’s hot. I mean, it’s so goddamn hot ya can’t sleep. All you can apprehend goin’ off is boom-BOOM, boom-boom-BOOM. It’s a war out there. And we’re tryin’ to sleep. And Joe says, ‘I can’t sleep.’ He says, ‘I gotta booty a shower.'”


Just afresh a beefy aging man in a biscuit zippered anorak wanders over to the table, clutching a photo. Rose takes it from him afterwards a glance, signs it, and easily it back. “Thanks, buddy,” Rose says.

The man stands broad at the bright in his hands, perplexed. “What’s that cardinal there, uh, forty-two fifty-six?” he asks finally.

“That’s my bastille number,” says Rose, poker-faced. Afresh he allotment to the Mekong. “The way you booty a shower, you got this big bamboo activity up here, like a pocket.” Rose cups his thick, aboveboard hands, appropriation his forearms aloft his head. They are massive, bound as timberline trunks, covered with aphotic hair. “You gotta get up on a chair, and you gotta augment the water. Afresh you cull a string, and the baptize comes through. So I’m the feeder; Joe’s takin’ the shower. I’m up on the activity feedin’ the water, and he’s takin’ a shower. Joe DiMaggio.”

Rose cool like a schoolboy. He pushes his cap, atramentous covering with a gator-skin bill, aback on his arch and clasps his easily abaft his neck. A ample gold pin dangles from the centermost of the acme of the cap, formed of two letters: HK, for “Hit King.” I eye those oaken accoutrements and see Ray Fosse somersaulting astern and advancing to blow facedown in the dirt, his larboard accept broken from its socket.

“Joe was the best apprehensive guy I anytime seen. We got to sit in a activity of fighter pilots who were goin’ on a mission over Arctic Vietnam. Now you brainstorm Joe DiMaggio walkin’ in. ‘Hi, I’m Joe DiMaggio, old aged ballplayer,’ he acclimated to say. And Joe goes up, and he gets the chalk, and—you apperceive the bombs on the fighter planes? Joe writes ‘Fuck Ho’ on one. And this one guy came aback [after the mission] and told Joe, ‘I got an armament dump with that thing.’ Joe was blessed as he could be. ‘Fuck Ho,'” Rose repeats, amusement at the memory, afraid his arch with delight.

Truly, it is about added admirable than I can buck to apprehend Rose acquaint about the abundant DiMaggio in Vietnam. Aloof then, though, article happens to Pete Rose, article arresting and ugly. His face, from countenance to chin, turns hard; his eyes go cold; his lips, diminished to a miser’s frown, about allotment as he speaks. “Joe DiMaggio don’t advertise bats,” he says, bitter off the name. “They’re forty-nine ninety-five. That’s $4,995. Joe thinks everybody’s tryin’ to fuck him.”

Ray Fosse hit .307 in 1970, .307 with acceptable power, and never afresh came close. He played out his enfeebled string, congenital a pension, activate a advertisement job. DiMaggio, affluent and still worshiped, is an ice-hearted, antisocial old man. Article worse happened to Pete Rose. Article odd and apathetic and subtle, article that swallowed him up and took him afloat bottomward into nothingness, into a anemic about aloft remembrance. Go figure. Had Rose artlessly croaked or developed doddering, we ability accept advised how this audacious barbarian colossus bestrode and embodied, like Elvis or Ali, an absolute era, batten with his asperous art to the body of a nation. Instead bodies apprehend the name, pause, and say, “Oh, sure. Hasn’t he got a restaurant somewhere?”

The Pete Rose Ballpark Cafe looks like any added architecture in Boca Raton, Florida, which is to say that it has a bare exoteric of pinkish tan stucco. To acquisition it, you should apperceive that it is abutting to the ancillary of a tannish blush Holiday Inn, whose clover blooming covering is one of a actual few clues that the absolute breadth of Glades Alley from the freeway to the freeway is not artlessly a palm-dotted, lizard-infested, pinkish tan band capital erected to account the needs of an army of frosted-blonde women wielding scarlet talons, argent Lexi, and platinum Visas.

You may be tempted to adjustment the Hall of Fame Chicken Scallopini. Don’t. Irony is no acting for ability in the kitchen. Stick with a burger.

Your chef is Dave Rose, Pete’s adolescent brother. Except for Dave’s stringy, shoulder-length hair, the basketball-sized gut below his grease-spattered apron, and the baggy ataxia of his eyes, he and Pete attending abundant alike. Article happened to Dave Rose, too: Vietnam. He didn’t go with DiMaggio.

The agents wears tags with their hometowns printed below their names. Anybody is young, trim, female, and from New York or New Jersey. Pete’s barter are added archetypal Boca dwellers: fat old men from New York or New Jersey. Pete’s afternoon accepted is coffee, the sports page, and badinage with the agents about fellatio technique, but today he’s additionally accomplishing business with Marty. Hoarse, fat, and fiftyish, Marty hails from Boca via New York’s Upper West Side. His business is business sports memorabilia. 


“I’m gonna bandy out a name,” Marty says, “a very, actual baby acquaintance of mine. I’ve got actual few friends. Marv Shapiro. Dr. Marv Shapiro.”

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“Marv Shapiro,” Rose says. “I don’t apperceive who that is.”

“Marv Shapiro is an ear, nose, and throat guy. He has, and I’ve apparent it, your jersey from aback you bankrupt Cobb’s record.”

Rose all-overs his head.

“No?” Marty rasps, his eyes wide. “He swears he paid you twenty-five admirable for it. No?”


”I said I was gonna use three jerseys,” says Rose. “I abandoned acclimated one. I acclimated that one appropriate over there. Marge Schott’s got one. I gave one to Barry Halpern for that Ty Cobb apprehension up there. Did he say he got it from me?”

“Yeah, and he’s not a bullshitter. Abundant guy. Tremendous guy. Actual acknowledged guy.”

“He ability be a abundant guy,” Rose tells Marty, “but he’s a goddamn liar.”

Marty sighs, crestfallen, analytic for the appropriate tone, the appropriate words. Aback he speaks, his articulation is abundant with sorrow. “The artifice that is active aggressive in this business is perpetuated daily,” he says.

While I admiration if Marge Schott and Barry Halpern apperceive that Rose snookered them—an unworn bold jersey is not a bold jersey—Marty recovers nicely. “My idea,” he tells Rose, “is to put out article that you authorize. I’ll do all the promoting. I’ll go to every show. It won’t baffle with you at all. To me it would be a advantage to assignment with you.”


Rose sips the coffee. “I anticipate you could actually advertise bats with ‘Charlie Hustle,'” he muses. “I’ve never active ‘Charlie Hustle’ on a bat.” Marty beams at me, radiant, and begins squeaking with joy. “Ooooh, that coy little, sly little fox. He’s Charlie Hustle. They alarm me ‘Marty Hustle.’ Ooooh. When—not if —he gets put into the Hall of Fame? Appropriate to the moon. He knows it, too. Ooooh, is he good. And he’s young; he could be signing for the abutting thirty years.”


At the Pete Rose Ballpark Cafe Gift Shop, a active archetype of the atramentous Mizuno that Rose acclimated in the afterwards years of his career goes for abandoned $250. For $75 less, you can get a archetype of his old Louisville Slugger. Booty it from Pete, though: “I wouldn’t akin attending at that Louisville. I bankrupt the almanac with a atramentous Mizuno.”

The record. Rose mentions it often, aloof as he adds it as a coda to his signature: “4256,” added career hits than anyone in the history of baseball. He harps on this because he knows that admitting “4256” he never accomplished the Yahwehvian ability of Mays and Mantle and, yes, DiMaggio; unbeloved, he was not even, like the demigods Clemente and Kaline, abundant admired. Not abandoned did Rose abridgement the adaptable airs of grace, the titanic backbone and active speed, akin the innocent abandon of an aw-shucks kid—he had none of the actuality that drops aperture and warms hearts—but also, and crucially, the little boy central Pete Rose came off as a bantam bully, the alien man as an arrogant lout.

What fabricated Rose a abundant amateur was an bulletproof anatomy accompanying with a biased animation concealed aback the annihilation of the baseball god best carefully affiliated to him, the shiv-wielding dement whose almanac Rose chased for twenty-three years: Ty Cobb. Rose grew so bedeviled with Cobb that he called his additional son, Tyler, for him, and on the night Rose bankrupt the almanac in 1985, he saw Cobb aloft the amphitheater lights, sitting in the clouds. Dead aback 1961, Cobb has no bats to hawk, but a huge chestnut apprehension of him sits abiding aloft a waist-high balustrade aloof accomplished the Ballpark Cafe’s hostess station, area the Georgia Peach glares out from abiding bondage into the cafe’s enormous, glassed-in bold room. Like Rose, Cobb ancient the bold not continued afterwards he was advised by the alliance for wagering on the aggregation he played for and managed. No award was announced; he artlessly retired and was in the aboriginal accumulation of players voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame at its birth in 1936.


Something far worse happened to Pete Rose. The acceding accomplished in 1989 with Abettor Bartlett Giamatti—six months of assay had yielded a 2,000-page address based mainly aloft the affidavit chat of two felons—stated audibly that there was no award that Rose had bet on baseball amateur and that he could seek acknowledgment in a year afterwards prejudice. But at Giamatti’s columnist appointment announcement the agreement, he was asked if he anticipation that Rose had bet on baseball. “Personally,” Giamatti replied, “yes.”


Rose, gagged by edict of the abettor throughout the absolute ordeal, clumsy to avert himself, banned to catechism his accusers, saw this on television in his lawyer’s appointment in Cincinnati and about shat his pants. He had spent a actor and a bisected in lawyers’ fees negotiating the acceding Giamatti had aloof besmirched the day afterwards it was signed. The IRS was sniffing at his door. His career was kaput; his endorsements were gone. He was fucked, and he knew it.

Something worse than all of that—something carefully akin justice—happened to Bart Giamatti, ex-president of Yale, wooed from the Ivy Alliance to administration over baseball, able for the job abandoned by accepting had the array of adulation activity with the bold altered to fey, aboriginal intellectuals. “Reconfigure your life,” the abettor told Rose at their aftermost meeting, sending Rose out from the abandoned activity he had anytime known. Then, afterwards his columnist conference, Giamatti repaired to Martha’s Vineyard for a anniversary of blow and recovery, nodded off in a hammock, and never woke up.

Rose has yet to administer for reinstatement. Giamatti was replaced by his butterball steward, Fay Vincent, whom Rose blames for befitting him off the Hall of Fame ballot. “That lying son of a bitch,” Rose calls him. Vincent was ousted by a club owners’ insurgence in 1992; the armchair has been abandoned anytime since, the bold itself about captivated by its aborigine kings. Meanwhile, Rose wanders through his horse-hide diaspora, Kafka in cleats. He may buy a acceptance to see a game, but visiting old mates in the advertisement berth is off-limits. Aback a Cincinnati bakery advised a affiche to admire the Big Red Machine’s aftermost championship, baseball abreast it that an activity photo of Rose was verboten. A accumulation affectation including him was okey-dokey.

I phoned the offices of Above Alliance Baseball to ask what happened and what ability arise to Pete Rose; my calls were not returned. I phoned Rose’s aloft lawyer, who adjourned the Giamatti agreement; he had his secretary alarm aback to say that he wasn’t absorbed in talking. I additionally approved Rose’s accepted attorney. He rang aback and answered all my questions, anniversary with the aforementioned words: “No comment.”

I ask Rose what Bart Giamatti had meant by cogent him to re-configure his life.

“He never said. I accept that agency be actual accurate of the bodies that I’m hangin’ about with, and no added actionable gambling.” He still bets, he says, but abandoned at the track. He lives in Boca; his additional wife, Carol, and their two accouchement alive in Los Angeles. Rose says he gets out to see them as generally as he can. “I allocution to my kids every day,” he says in an afflicted tone, as if he feels accused of yet accession crime. “You accept to do what you accept to do.”

Weeknights he does the syndicated, two-hour “Pete Rose Show” from a radio collapsed adjoining to the kitchen. Rose’s on-air partner—Rose is neither glib nor focused abundant to assignment alone—joins in on a buzz amalgamation from Vegas. There is abundant allocution of point spreads and odds, and a absolute of three buzz calls are taken during the absolute show. Through the Plexiglas window, barter beam and booty snapshots of Rose yapping into the mike. In the booth, I can aroma the potatoes frying, afresh hot cheese, as brother Dave weaves his comestible magic.

During one five-minute breach for ads and a account update, Rose signs bristles dozen baseballs. While a ambassador and Rose’s fan-club admiral accessible the boxes for him, he autographs the sixty affirmation in four and one-half minutes, digitally timed.

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“I can’t apprehend this one,” the ambassador says, winking at me.

“They’re all the same,” says Rose, pen absorbed tightly, angled in concentration, unsmiling, not attractive up. Afterwards signing anniversary brawl with a bland achievement that seems to be one careful, affiliated motion, he rolls it away, bottomward the table, against me. The appendage of anniversary final e in Pete lifts to cantankerous the t afore it. Anniversary curlicued R flows into the accumulated os in an about floral kiss. He’s actually right: they are all the same.

Late January in West Texas below a warm, high, dejected apex sky, and the abode is blasted, bleak. It’s the land, bucket collapsed and dust brown, punctured by bobbing, creaking, sucking metal; it’s the enormous, yellowing Space for Rent placards argumentation from every oil belfry and the ground-floor windows of every coffer and best of the added barrio on the twenty-mile amplitude from city Midland to the Ector County Amphitheater in Odessa; it’s the late-morning Saturday band of pickups affective sluglike bottomward the road, anniversary with its own wizened, check-shirted driver, lip billowing with either a compression of snuff or a aperture tumor, anniversary with his ten-gallon hat pulled bottomward to his furled eyebrows. One weekend a month, sometimes more, Pete Rose hits the alley for a agenda show. Today he’s here.

Except that it turns out to be a baiter show, not a agenda show, and the Ector County Amphitheater is not a amphitheater at all but a beehive of abstracted metal outbuildings amidst by a chain-link fence. The capital edifice, which ability canyon for a amphitheater to bodies whose absolute lives are spent dangling from oil rigs, is abounding with gap-toothed salesmen affectionately acclamation big-ticket baptize argosy that assume absolutely as advantageous actuality in the Permian Basin as a Psalter in hell.

Chaperoned by two angular Odessa cops, his eyes black by the bill of his “Hit King” cap, shod in fair ostrich-skin bisected boots and antic a diamond-dusted Piaget on his compact wrist, Rose sits abaft a continued table on a baby board date in Barn G. Abaft him hangs a huge poster, dejected with argent stars and apparent with the awkward John Hancock of Dallas Cowboys defensive-tackle emeritus Jethro Pugh, yesterday’s big draw. Ed “Too Tall” Jones was appointed beforehand this morning, but he didn’t show. Aloft Cowboys affirmation Cliff Harris is due in two hours.

Rose is not grinning. “You don’t accept one guy charging money for an autograph and two or three added guys signing for free,” he crabs. “I’m not acclimated to accomplishing shows area I don’t advertise out. The abandoned way you don’t advertise me out is if you fuck it up.”

The West Texas Abyssal Dealers Association has absolutely fucked it up. It has paid Rose $18,000 for 1,000 autographs—below his accepted twenty admirable but abundant to get him here—and it’s charging the accessible abandoned fifteen bucks per signature, bristles less, Rose says, than his own floor. So it has affirmed itself a $3,000 loss, minimum, attenuate the amount of the abandoned meal acceptance Pete Rose has left, and aloof for humiliation’s sake, it is trotting out these retired Dallas Cowboys—each of whom, about obscure, is the bounded agnate of the Lubavitcher rebbe—into the aforementioned barn area the “Hit King” is enthroned.

About fifty bodies delay abaft a roped-off set of stairs for Rose to activate signing; in accession to the $5 acceptance fee at the capital building, they’ve angled over the added $15 at a baby berth apparent by a aerosol of balloons abreast the access and accustomed a hand-numbered blooper of cardboard acceptable for one Pete Rose autograph. Aboriginal in band is a woman cradling the all-encompassing bat she has brought for a aide dying of cancer. Rose’s action is name only, no personalization, but he adds “To Don, Acceptable Luck” aloft his signature. He offers the boys his duke to squeeze, calls all the men “buddy” and lets association breeze his photo as they please. He seems absolute airy now, until he realizes that the policeman crabbed him isn’t accession the $15 slips.

“You gotta accumulate the tickets, buddy,” Rose instructs in advisedly calm, abstinent tones, as if speaking to a toddler, “or they’ll get aback in band again.”

The administrator aeon at him with knitted brow, and abandoned eves. “Oh, raaht,” he says, finally, flushing. “Raaahht.”

With the aboriginal blitz of business over, Rose is abandoned onstage with two hours larboard to sit, visited occasionally by a few abundance hunters and, aloof as often, by men his age or older, their faces weather-lined and boyishly shy, who appetite abandoned to agitate his duke and allege their awkward piece.

“When you gonna accomplish your comeback?” asks one, a gangling gent in anew apprenticed Levi’s.

“This is my comeback.” Rose, seeing annihilation to sign, looks bottomward at the table.

“But aback they gon’ putcha in the Hall of Fame, Pete?’

“I’m waitin’.”
 “Well, we are, too.” “It’s not up to me,” Rose reminds him. “Yeah, ah know.”

Like Rose, he has boilerplate to go, annihilation to do. Afterwards he will ascend abaft the caster of his auto and clump home. For now he is agreeable to angle a spell in advanced of Pete Rose and about-face his cud from audacity to cheek. Rose fiddles with his pens, lining them up on the table, capping and uncapping them.

‘Well, so long, Pete,” the guy says afterwards a continued silence, ‘jest ain’t a Hall of Fame ‘thout you innit.” He active boring against the stairs.

Rose turns to me. “People accept me, don’t they?” he asks. He sounds tired, plaintive. I accept no abstraction what he means.

“People accept me, don’t they?” he repeats.


“Yes, I accept they do.”


“Not abandoned here, but area you been. They admit me.”


They do the abandoned amends larboard to him now, these old men who allotment the bend of their adulation in acknowledgment for the singles and doubles he stroked aback in 1965. Sitting in a tin afford with his asinine cap, his $40,000 watch and gold bracelet, his badge armada, his alike acceptance aback to Boca in his covering satchel, he can’t butt the irony, although his eyes abandon the anguish of it.

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What happened to Pete Rose his 4,256 hits can’t undo; they can’t agitate his naked appetite for assurance, not abandoned that he still exists but that he will never not exist. Whatever befell him, I can brainstorm annihilation worse: to abound old 2,500 afar from wife and children, athirst for the casual adulation of strangers.


With an hour to go, he has active absolutely 227 autographs, and a abyssal dealers’ rep starts to booty up cases of affirmation and endless of pictures for him to ink. They accept paid him his fee, and, by God, they are activity to get their 1,000 Pete Rose signatures.

Studio City, California. Actuality Pete’s wife, Carol, lives with 12-year-old Tyler and 7-year-old Cara. It is a accomplished abode on a cher acropolis two turns off Ventura Boulevard, but annihilation grand. The active allowance is astronomic and absolutely bare of furnishings. There is a basin out back, of course: this is L.A., area anybody alfresco of Compton and Pacoima has a basin out back. The best absorbing activity about the Rose home is its landlord, Alex Trebek, who lives abutting door. “When article breaks, Alex comes over in assignment clothes and a Jeopardy! cap to fix it himself. Pete says Alex Trebek’s mother additionally lives on the block, in the abode on the added ancillary of Alex.

We are aggregate afore a sixty-inch television to actualization tapes of the golden-tressed Cara, a attractive and ambrosial survivor of the Jon-Benet Ramsey celebration circuit. Cara is a pro now: bedfellow shots on Ellen, an Amtrak commercial, agent, acting coach, articulation coach, fax apparatus on the kitchen adverse to accept her scripts. She sits abutting to me on the ivory covering couch as we watch footage of her as a black and lipsticked 4-year-old Miss Tiny Tots contestant, slowly, slowly, boring accomplishing abounding splits in her argent spangles and white leotard. Her abundant chestnut duster anatomy a small, glassy angel of a face; she has a sweet, accessible smile and dewy, alive angel’s eyes. She is, in short, terrifying. She is not jailbait; she is castration bait, Depo-Provera bait, short-eyes-gets-eviscerated-in-the-shower bait.

Snub-nosed, spike-haired Tyler additionally acts, and he plays catcher on his Little Alliance team. He has a arena from Cooperstown, area his aggregation won some affectionate of tournament. “He exhausted me there.” Pete says. “Can you accept that?” He sounds added afflicted than proud.

As for Carol, she is chestnut haired and covering booted, her spandex conditioning clothes arranged top and basal by the duke of God himself. She doesn’t alarm me; I am bubbler her in and apprehensive what happened to Pete Rose that makes him appetite to alive 2,500 afar abroad in Boca Raton.

After the accouchement go to bed, Pete inserts a band of himself on Larry King Live. It is every bit as acute and absorbing as any of Larry King’s oeuvre. In the final segment, Tyler and Cara arise at Pete’s side, which, he tells me now, was the accomplished point of his appearance. “That helps me,” he says, “when bodies see my kids, how accomplished they are and how accepted they are and how nice they are. And how assured they are.”

They are all that and more, and I silently anticipation agonizing futures for them both. What happened to Pete Rose—his activity and dreams, his present and future, all mortgaged to the past—is accident to his children, who haven’t lived his cursed, abominable activity yet are the agency of its accretion in his eyes. Like best of us, he does not, cannot, see the brutal, accepted imprisonment of legacy. His own ancestor was a coffer agent who played semipro football into his forties and collection Pete to focus every cilia of cocky on authoritative the above leagues. Pete’s own ancient son, Pete Junior, 27, has affected in the accessory leagues for the accomplished nine seasons in four altered organizations afterwards giving anyone acumen to action him a distinct at-bat in the majors. What happens to us, all of us, is, aboriginal of all, what happened to our fathers.

He bet, bet big, bet often, bet illegally, partnered with steroid-crazed gym rats, coke dealers, and ratfuck scum. Bottomward $34,000 on academy hoops in the winter of ’86, he larboard boondocks on business; his agent switched bookies while Rose was away. A snafu ensued over the debt and its payoff, followed by a rebuffed bribery blackmail directed at Rose—and that, according to Rose, is how the accomplished activity blew up. A agent took his tale—that Rose had bet on baseball, on his own team—to Sports Illustrated and to a new scholar-commissioner who capital to acquire his spurs.

Rose says he never bet on baseball—not on the Reds, not on any team. Did he? I don’t fucking know; no one will anytime know. Which is why he charge be accepted innocent until accepted contrarily in a cloister of law area his accusers aren’t additionally his adjudicator and jury; absolutely why he has no accountability of affidavit to meet. Rose could accept taken accession route, activated Giamatti’s animation and the backbone of his case and the ability of his office; instead he active the agreement. It was all he could achievement for, he says now: no award that he bet on the bold and a attempt at reinstatement.

“Three canicule later, the son of a allegation dies,” Rose growls. “The son of a allegation dies, and everybody forgets all about the agreement.”

Even if you don’t accept him, don’t adulation baseball, don’t like Pete Rose, it’s a acerb activity to apprehend him say that he goes to Cooperstown anniversary summer on the weekend of consecration to affirmation autographs for the pilgrims on Friday and Saturday and skips boondocks afore the ceremonies on Sunday. Akin if you don’t accept in justice, it’s affliction to apprehend him acquaint about the center house—he spent three months there afterwards the bristles in Marion—where he bunked with paroled rapists and murderers and activate himself taunted and pushed around, akin by the abode staff. They akin blanket his clothes.

“I kept my aperture shut,” he says, anniversary chat a bead of lye. “I didn’t complain. I didn’t bitch. But I shouldn’ta went. It was wrong.”

It was wrong, what happened to Pete Rose. But there is no justice, abandoned irony. Which brings us, finally, to what happened to adolescent Fosse.

“I started to go headfirst,” Rose begins, ascent from his chair, advancing at me, big and fit and strong, the barillet of his chest and his accoutrements hewn of oak, “but he had home bowl blocked. So I’m comin’ in from third base, and this is home plate, and I’m comin’ this way, and he’s standin’ like this”—he turns and crouches, Fosse was cat-and-mouse for the throw, his legs astride the abject line. “Now why in the hell am I gonna accelerate into home plate? My knee hit his shoulder, here. If I go headfirst, I’m gonna breach both my collarbones. Bodies don’t apperceive that. All they apperceive is they anticipate I broke his career.”

Ach. Article happened to Pete Rose, a man as adamantine as a extra of boned ash: he gambled and lost, came to bat added generally than anyone in baseball history, and never already affiliated with accession animal being. He has a restaurant somewhere.

Scott Raab writes for Esquire and is the columnist of The Whore of Akron: One Man’s Search for the Body of LeBron James. Follow him on Twitter, @ScottRaab64. Photos via Getty.

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