PLANT CITY – Pete Rose isn’t much more than a memory at Plant City Stadium.
There is one exception: His locker is still there.
No one seems to know why his locker wasn’t removed when he was banned for life from baseball in 1989 or when the Reds left Plant City after the 1997 spring training season.
The red locker, made of wood and bearing Rose’s name, sits empty in the old clubhouse that is now offices and storage for the International Softball Federation.
Emilio Mendoza, superintendent for the city’s parks division, said city crews cleaned out the clubhouse after the Reds left after 10 spring training seasons here. He can’t recall why Rose’s locker was left untouched.
Plant City is a footnote in baseball history and the star’s fall from grace. Rose was the team’s manager and was in Plant City when news broke that he was accused of betting on baseball games.
Rose accepted a punishment that barred him for life from the sport.
International Softball Federation Honorary President Don Porter said he uses the locker as a conversation piece when visitors tour the federation’s headquarters at 1900 S. Park Road.
Porter said the federation, which is raising money to build a hall of fame and museum at the stadium complex, would be willing to sell the locker to a baseball memorabilia collector. If a buyer doesn’t emerge, the locker will go on display when the softball museum opens, hopefully in about a year.