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Star photo by Eric AhlqvistHall of Famer Mike Schmidt signs an autograph for Al Kelley, a professional golfer from Eustis, Fla., before teeing off for the Seniors Open Pro-Am Tournament at Leatherstocking Golf Course on Tuesday.

COOPERSTOWN _ Mike Schmidt appears to be changing his stance.

After 20 years of support for former teammate Pete Rose, the Hall of Fame third baseman said Tuesday he's not sure if Rose will ever be reinstated.

Schmidt, who played his entire 18-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies, was in Cooperstown to play in the Seniors Open Pro-Am at Leatherstocking Golf Course. Schmidt also served as the celebrity host.

Rose, who played on the 1980 World Series championship team with Schmidt, agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball for gambling, on Aug. 23, 1989.

After Hall of Fame Weekend in July, Hank Aaron voiced his support for Rose to be reinstated and has spoken to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig about the topic.

Schmidt said even Aaron's support might not be enough for Rose.

"I don't think anything will come of it," Schmidt said as he stood at the first tee Tuesday. "It's a dead issue."

For many years, Rose adamantly denied betting on baseball, but came clean in 2004 that he bet on games while he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Rose also told his story that year in a book, My Prison Without Bars.

His admission coincided with the announcement of elections of Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield into the Hall of Fame.

Schmidt seems to be wavering on his support for Rose.

"I'll always be Pete's friend, but I think he needs to show more remorse for what he did to the game," Schmidt said. "Pete's always been Pete. He's stubborn. He lives a more exciting lifestyle than me and I can't be around him all the time to check up on him."

Asked if Rose, baseball's all-time hit king with 4,256 hits, was his own worst enemy, Schmidt said, "Exactly."

Schmidt, who turns 60 on Sept. 27, hit 548 home runs during his career. He won three National League MVP Awards, including in 1980, when he hit 48 homers and had 121 RBIs. He also hit .381 during the World Series that year, when the Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals in six games.

Schmidt said coming back for this tournament is always enjoyable.

"My other love is golf, and that's one of the reasons I keep coming back here," Schmidt said.

The tournament benefits Pathfinder Village, a residential community in Edmeston that is dedicated to children and adults with Down syndrome.

Schmidt toured Pathfinder Village on Monday.

"To see the smiles on the residents' faces, that's another thing that will keep me coming back," Schmidt said. "It was an eye-opening and somewhat emotional experience."

Senior pro Gary Ostrega led a team of four amateurs to victory in the Pro-Am Tournament.

The Seniors Open begins at 8 a.m. today and continues through Friday. Ninety-six senior professionals are expected to participate. The winning professional earns $8,000.

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