(Reuters) - Pete Rose, despite longstanding denials, bet on baseball during his playing days, according to an ESPN report on Monday that could hurt his bid to overturn a lifetime ban imposed on him in 1989 for gambling as a manager.
Copies of a notebook seized from the home of a former Rose associate show Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader bet on at least one MLB team on 30 different days, according to ESPN's Outside the Lines.
The report also states that on 21 of those days, Rose bet on baseball and on the Cincinnati Reds, including on games in which he played.
The documents do not show that Rose bet against his team.
The evidence was obtained from the home of Michael Bertolini during a raid by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in 1989 that was part of a mail fraud probe and unrelated to sports betting, ESPN said.
Rose admitted in 2004 after almost 15 years of denials that he had bet on baseball. But he insisted he never gambled during his playing career and only as manager of the Reds.
MLB's ban, imposed by then Commissioner Bart Giamatti, put Rose on the disqualified list, meaning he could not hold a job in the major leagues and was not eligible to be included on the ballot for the Hall of Fame.
With Rob Manfred succeeding long-time Commissioner Bud Selig in January, Rose formally applied for reinstatement and Manfred has said he was open to sitting down with Rose on the matter.
No statement was immediately issued by MLB on the report.
A key figure in MLB's initial probe into Rose's gambling was outspoken about the development.
"This does it. This closes the door," John Dowd, the former federal prosecutor who led the investigation ordered by Giamatti, told ESPN.
For 26 years, the notebook remained under court-ordered seal and is currently stored in the National Archives' New York office, where officials have declined requests to release it.
Rose, through lawyer Raymond Genco, issued a statement: "Since we submitted the application earlier this year, we committed to MLB that we would not comment on specific matters relating to reinstatement."
In the statement, Rose said he was "eager to sit down with Manfred to address my entire history -- the good and the bad -- and my long personal journey since baseball."
Rose is expected to participate, with permission from MLB, in All-Star Game festivities next month in Cincinnati.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)