Pete Rose always has insisted he never bet against his team.

In an interview with the Star Tribune, however, Rose joked that he once rooted for a teammate to make an out in an exhibition game for the Metrodome’s debut in 1982.

“I wanted a chance to get the first hit,” he said with a chuckle.

That day, with his Reds playing against the Twins, Rose claims he batted second behind Ivan de Jesus, who did indeed make the out.

Facing Pete Redfern, Rose took the honors and the Hit King did what he did best.

Years later, after Rose retired and had gotten in the meat and seafood business, he brought the ball from the first hit with him to Austin, Minn., for a pig kill at Hormel. He presented the heirloom to Hormel’s president.

Rose doesn’t remember many details about when or why he presented the game ball, but the memory of the hit — like most of his baseball exploits — hasn’t faded.

“I lose track of things,” he said. “But I don’t lose track of too many baseball things.”

Amelia Rayno