One of Pete Rose's longtime enemies claims Rose frequently committed statutory rape during his days as a player and a manager ... but Rose calls it the "best" lie yet about him.
John Dowd, whose investigation eventually lead to Rose getting a lifetime ban from baseball, made the bombshell accusation during a recent interview. Dowd claimed a former Rose associate told him he "ran young girls for [Rose] down in spring training. Ages 12 to 14. Isn't that lovely?"
During the interview with WCHE in Pennsylvania, Dowd added ... "So that's statutory rape everytime you do that."
Rose has denied the allegation and said, "What's Dowd going to talk about next? Something from 50 years ago when I was 24 years old? I don't know why anybody would believe that. It's unbelievable."
Rose's attorney Ray Genco tells TMZ Sports, "The statements are malicious and untrue." He also says he's reviewing Dowd's comments, and a lawsuit isn't out of the question.