COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Pete Rose, banned from baseball in 1989 for misconduct related to gambling, denied new drug and betting allegations raised against him by a former friend in the September issue of Vanity Fair magazine.
Tommy Gioiosa, a former Rose housemate who went to federal prison for three years for cocaine trafficking and tax fraud, told Vanity Fair that Rose financed a cocaine deal, bet on baseball games and may have violated baseball rules by using a corked bat.
Rose, appearing at an autograph show here on Monday, called the drug-dealing allegation "the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
"I've been accused of everything, but I've never been accused of being a cocaine dealer and a drug dealer," Rose said in an interview. "All I can tell you is, they better have credible evidence if they start writing that kind of stuff."
Rose, 60, compiled a record 4,256 hits during a career that lasted from 1963 to 1986. He managed the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1989, when he received a lifetime ban with the opportunity to apply for reinstatement within a year.
While Rose's agreement with baseball made no mention of betting on the game, commissioner Bart Giamatti said on the day of Rose's banishment that he concluded Rose wagered on baseball. Giamatti died of a heart attack a week after banning Rose.
Gioiosa told the magazine that Rose had him place tens of thousands of dollars in baseball bets in the mid-1980s when Rose was player-manager of the Reds.
Rose reiterated in Cooperstown that he never wagered on baseball.
Gioiosa, 43, lived with Rose from 1979 to about 1984 and had a father-son relationship with the 17-time All-Star.
Gioiosa said on NBC's Today show that he went public with his new allegations because Rose never showed appreciation after Gioiosa refused to cooperate with criminal investigations into Rose.
In the Vanity Fair article, Gioiosa said he was present when Rose expressed an interest in "investing" in cocaine to a mutual acquaintance. Gioiosa said he made a trip to Florida to buy cocaine with Rose's money because he was "scared" to say no to Rose.
Gioiosa also told the magazine that Rose once showed him a bat doctored with cork, and would hit the bat on a concrete floor so that it looked scuffed and he could avoid detection by umpires.
Rose denied ever using a corked bat in a game, noting that power hitters use cork because it helps baseballs travel farther. Rose, primarily a singles and doubles hitter, hit only 160 career home runs.
"Now they're figuring out a way how I cheated to get the hits," Rose said.