A man who met Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose as a college baseball player in Florida says the beleaguered manager liked to go to the race track and once bought a Porsche the day after a big win at a Las Vegas casino.
Tommy Gioiosa also said he placed bets for Rose at race tracks because baseball's all-time hit leader didn't like to go to the betting windows where he would be bothered by fans, Gioiosa said."Pete liked to go to the track," Gioiosa told The Boston Sunday Globe. "He would bet $2,000 or $4,000 or $8,000, maybe between $4,000 and $10,000, but Pete was good at it. I'd say overall . . . that Pete is ahead with his gambling."
Michael Fry, a former gym owner now in prison for cocaine trafficking and income-tax evasion, recently told Sports Illustrated that he heard that Gioiosa had placed bets for Rose on basketball and football games.
Gioiosa, a college baseball player when he met Rose in 1978, declined comment when the Globe asked if he ever placed bets with a bookie for Rose.
However, in an interview with The Standard-Times of New Bedford published last week, Gioiosa denied making such bets.
"I made no bets like that. We'd go to the track together all the time. Every night - sometimes day and night. And sometimes I'd go to the track for Pete.
"I've got nothing bad to say about the guy. He bought me my first Porsche," Gioiosa said.
Gioiosa said he lived with Rose for five years, until Rose and his first wife were divorced. When Rose remarried, Gioiosa bought a condominium nearby and, "I'd be over there all the time . . . see him every day, have breakfast with him, wash his car, go to the track with him."
Rose placed a large bet on the Washington Redskins to win the 1988 Super Bowl, Gioiosa said. He said the bet was placed in Las Vegas, where sports gambling is legal.
Gioiosa said Rose also liked to play baccarat. After one successful night at the tables, Gioiosa said, Rose bought a Porsche the next day.
"I'm not saying he won enough to pay cash for the Porsche," Gioiosa said. "All I know is that he had the Porsche the next day. . . . Maybe he won enough for a good down payment."
Gioiosa introducted Rose to Paul Janszen, who according to an unidentified Sports Illustrated source, was involved in baseball betting with Rose. The SI source said Rose exchanged gambling-related signals with Janszen during a Reds game at Riverfront Stadium. Rose has denied the charge.
Gioiosa also dismissed the allegation, saying you couldn't bet on a game once it started.
"You have to understand, Janszen's a loud guy," Gioiosa said. "It's just like him to come in and make a big production of everything, let everybody know what he's doing and he'd want people to think he was close to Rose."
Janszen is serving a six-month sentence in a Cincinnati halfway house after pleading guilty to a charge of evading taxes on income from the sale of steroids.