Baseball hit king Pete Rose provided a tone-deaf answer when asked by a female reporter whether his presence at the ceremony honoring the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies World Seres team sent a negative message given his admission to having a sexual relationship with an underage female in the 1970s.
Alex Coffey, who covers the Phillies for the Philadelphia Inquirer, tweeted about her interaction with Rose during the ceremony, which was also included in a lengthy article for the newspaper.
"I asked Pete Rose what he would say to people who say his presence here sends a negative message to women," Coffey wrote. "His response: 'No, I’m not here to talk about that. Sorry about that. It was 55 years ago babe.'"
Coffey said Rose was also made available after the ceremony and someone, who she believes was "maybe an agent," told her the former baseball player had "something to say to me, but he didn't seem to know he was expected to say anything."
"He asked if he'd offended me, and said 'will you forgive me if I sign 1000 baseballs for you' before saying 'sorry.'"
Coffey said Rose was asked about their interaction by the Associated Press and said, "I'm going to tell you one more time. I'm here for the Philly fans. I'm here for my teammates. I'm here for the Phillies organization. And who cares what happened 50 years ago...."
"You weren't even born. So you shouldn't be talking about it, because you weren't born. If you don't know a damn thing about it, don't talk about it."
The allegations against Rose, 81, having a sexual relationship with an underage female in the 1970s initially surfaced in 2017 through testimony in federal court.
A sworn statement submitted by the woman -- referred to as Jane Doe -- in court filings obtained by ESPN claimed she was underage when she began a relationship with Rose in 1973, which continued for a couple of years.
“Sometime after that, Pete Rose and I began meeting at a house in Cincinnati,” the woman’s statement said. “It was at that house where, before my 16th birthday, Pete Rose began a sexual relationship with me. This sexual relationship lasted for several years. Pete Rose also met me in locations outside of Ohio where we had sex.”
Rose, who was 34 years old and married with two children in 1975, admitted to having sex with the girl but claimed he thought she was 16 at the time, according to court filings.
The former baseball player was never charged with statutory rape as the statute of limitations had passed at the time of the testimony, which was revealed as part of a defamation lawsuit Rose brought against lawyer John Dowd in 2017.
Down led Major League Baseball's investigation into Rose's gambling, which documented that Rose had bet on the Cincinnati Reds 52 times in 1987 while serving as the team's manager, which led to his permanent ban from baseball.
The defamation lawsuit, however, stemmed from an interview Dowd gave with a radio station in July 2015 and not the MLB investigation.
Rose holds the MLB record for hits (4,256), at-bats (14,053), plate appearances (15,890) and games played (3,562) during a 24-year career with the Cincinnati Reds (1963-78, 1984-86); Phillies (1979-83); and Montreal Expos (1984).