Pete Rose and Rob Dibble have been good friends since the 1980s. In fact, Rose let Dibble and Dibble’s family use his house one year during spring training.
So, yes, Rose is a good friend. But needless to say, he’s made some questionable decisions.
“Love him or hate him, he’s an amazing guy,” Dibble said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “(But) he’s kind of a problem to himself. Going back to ’88, ’89, I had no idea about all the gambling and all that stuff. Coming from a small town in Connecticut, I really never had the money to gamble. I really didn’t understand it. I didn’t know it was like an addiction, a disease and a compulsion thing with him – and I saw it a lot. He would come back from the track and count money in the clubhouse. From all accounts, everyone always said he was an awful gambler. I’m like, if you’re bad at something and you’re one of the greatest baseball players of all time, why would you stick with it?”
It’s simple. The excitement. The anticipation. The juice of winning and losing. It’s addicting.
But for Dibble, one of six children whose family never had a lot of money growing up, it was hard to relate.
“I was never one to just blow money,” Dibble said. “But with Pete, going back to ’88 and ’89 and even to today, he does not get it. He does not understand that everything he’s done since he was a player in the Major Leagues has compromised whether or not people believe the game is on the up-and-up – and you can’t allow that in a game.”
So Rob Manfred isn’t. The MLB commissioner announced Monday that Rose’s bid for reinstatement was denied. Thus, the 74-year-old remains banned from baseball.
Dibble wasn’t surprised.
“He’s like a 74-year old Johnny Manziel,” he said of Rose. “I don’t get it. When you’re admitting that you still gambling on baseball, it’s mind-numbing. Pete, you’ve been kicked out of baseball for 26 years and you’re still gambling on baseball? I don’t care if it’s legal. I don’t care if you’re gambling with your closest relatives. . . . (The commissioner) wants to see Pete grow up and mature. He’s still a child at heart.
“I think Rob Manfred is a very fair guy,” Dibble continued. “He’s a brilliant guy. He’s a great lawyer, and he was a tough adversary. I was a player rep when I was in the Major Leagues, and he’s very smart. He was trying to be fair with Pete and give him an honest chance to get back in the game, and Pete just keeps screwing it up. So listen, he screwed up with (Bart) Giamatti, he screwed it up with Bud Selig, and now he’s doing it with Manfred. He’s his own worst enemy.”
All that said, Dibble still thinks Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.
“Listen,” he said, “it’s a museum, and it’s always been separated from Major League Baseball – and that’s what Rob Manfred said in his letter: I’m keeping Pete out of Major League Baseball; I’m not keeping him from the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a museum on the historical significance of Major League Baseball. It’s a tourist attraction.”
Dibble would put Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other disgraced superstars in the Hall as well.
“It’s not the Hall of Saints,” Dibble said. “You’ve got guys in there who were convicted drug felons. Ty Cobb reportedly murdered somebody. It’s not the Hall of Saints. I’m not a judgmental person. My job is not to judge people. That’s for the hereafter. For Pete to be in the Hall of Fame just shows what he did as a player. Now if you want to write what he did as a person, that’s your business. But to me, to not have Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, it’s just ridiculous. It’s a museum. I’m married to a school teacher. How are you supposed to teach kids what baseball is about if you don’t put the best players of all time in there?”
“Put (Rose) in there,” Dibble continued. “Put a plaque up there, and let the 74-year old man die with dignity. My problem is you’ve destroyed this guy for 26 years. Pete Rose is a great person. He’s not a great person to himself. He hurts his own reputation. But what he did for baseball can never be measured by people who weren’t in the game.”