A ceremony planned by the Philadelphia Phillies to honor Major League Baseball all-time hits king Pete Rose was canceled Wednesday after allegations he had a 1970s sexual relationship with a teen girl.
The Phillies had intended to induct Rose, a key player on their 1980 World Series championship team, to the club's Wall of Fame on August 12, a day after giving away a bobblehead figure with Rose's likeness to game spectators.
Both tributes were called off after allegations raised by ESPN that Rose, who played for the Phillies from 1979-1983 but spent most of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, was having sex with the girl before she turned 16.
"Due to recent events, the Phillies and Pete Rose have decided that Pete will not participate in the Phillies Alumni Weekend festivities to be held at Citizens Bank Park on Aug. 10-13, 2017," the Phillies said in a statement.
Rose, banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on Major League Baseball games while manager of the Reds, has been barred from consideration to the Baseball Hall of Fame but won a Phillies fan vote for Wall of Fame induction.
"While I am truly honored that the Phillies fans voted for me to be this year's Wall of Fame inductee, I am concerned that other matters will overshadow the goodwill associated with Alumni Weekend, and I agree with the decision not to participate," Rose said in a statement.
Rose, 76, had a major league career record 4,256 hits over 24 years and won three World Series titles while hitting .303.
Rose passed Ty Cobb as the major league career hits leader with his 4,192nd hit, a single off San Diego's Eric Snow in Cincinnati on September 11, 1985.
ESPN reported that an unidentified woman's sworn statement, contained in a motion filed to counter a defamation lawsuit by Rose against John Dowd, alleges Rose had a sexual relationship with the woman for several years in the 1970s that began before she was 16.
Dowd oversaw the investigation that led to Rose's ban from baseball.
Rose admitted a sexual relationship with the woman in court documents made public Monday and obtained by ESPN, but said his belief was that it started when she was 16.
Rose was 34, married and the father of two children in 1975 when he admitted he began having sex with the woman, known in the court filing as "Jane Doe."
Court documents obtained by ESPN show Rose said he did not remember how long the relationship lasted, and the woman's account does not offer prospects for criminal charges against Rose because the state of Ohio's statute of limitations has long since expired.
Last month, the Reds dedicated a bronze statue of Cincinnati native Rose, joining those of several others near the team's ballpark.
In 2015, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred rejected Rose's request to have the lifetime ban lifted.
Last September, Rose asked the National Baseball Hall of Fame to reconsider his case and allow him to stand for election, but the appeal was denied last December.
Rose played for the Reds from 1963 to 1978 and 1984 to 1986 and also was the team's manager from 1984 to 1989. His jersey number, 14, was retired by the Reds last year.
© 2017 AFP