CINCINNATI, AUG. 24 -- Pete Rose, one of the most celebrated players in professional baseball history, was banned from the game for life today by Major League Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti. Rose, who holds 19 major league records and is the game's all-time career hit leader, will be able to apply for reinstatement in one year. But Giamatti said: "There is absolutely no deal for reinstatement. That is exactly what we did not agree to in terms of fixed number of years." Rose has been accused of betting on baseball games from 1985 to 1987, including those involving the Cincinnati Reds, the club for which he played more than 18 seasons and managed from August 1984 until today. He continued to maintain today that "I did not bet on baseball." Nothing in the settlement's terms represents an official finding of Rose's guilt or innocence. In exchange, Rose agreed to drop his lawsuit against Giamatti and not to challenge any decision or procedure related to the evaluation of an application for reinstatement. The penalty was announced in New York in a five-page agreement that ends one of baseball's ugliest and most complicated episodes. It began in February and wound its way through baseball special counsel John M. Dowd's investigation and 225-page report and more than two months of legal maneuvering during which four courts -- two state and two federal -- were asked to confront the commissioner's previously unfettered authority over the game. Rose is the 15th person to be banned from baseball for life, but the first since 1943, when Philadelphia Phillies President William D. Cox was found to have bet on his own team. No one banned for life ever has been reinstated. Giamatti pointed to baseball's Rule 21, which concerns misconduct, as the basis for his action against Rose. He did not specifically point to the subsection of that rule that applies to gambling. Today's decision will not eliminate Rose from consideration for the Hall of Fame, although it could hurt his chances of being elected by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, who vote annually on new inductees. There are approximately 450 voting members, and it is necessary to be on 75 percent of the returned ballots to gain admittance. "Rose would still be eligible for election in 1992 unless our board of directors decides differently," Bill Guilfoile, associate director of the Hall of Fame, told the Associated Press. Several voters said today they might not vote for Rose because of the betting. Said Rose: "I did my part to get into the Hall of Fame . . . I got all the hits and scored all the runs and won all the games. I can't really worry about something that's not in my control." Rose, who said he "obviously made some mistakes . . . but one of the mistakes wasn't betting on baseball," indicated he planned to apply for reinstatement next year. He said he "absolutely" expects to be able to return to the game, but he didn't say by when. "My life is baseball," Rose said at a news conference at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. "I hope to get back into baseball as soon as I possibly can." Giamatti said since Rose chose neither to cooperate with Giamatti's intention to hold a hearing on the matter nor to put forth a defense, he believes Rose is guilty of the gambling charges. "In the absence of a hearing and in absence of evidence to the contrary . . . yes, I have concluded that he bet on baseball," Giamatti said during a news conference in New York. Asked if he thought Rose bet on games involving the Reds, Giamatti replied, "Yes." But he emphasized that those conclusions are his personal opinions, not official findings. Officially, according to the agreement: "Peter Edward Rose acknowledges that the commissioner has a factual basis to impose the penalty provided herein . . . Nothing in this agreement shall be deemed either an admission or a denial by Peter Edward Rose of the allegation that he bet on any Major League Baseball game. "Neither the commissioner nor Peter Edward Rose shall be prevented from making any public statement relating to this matter so long as no such public statement contradicts the terms of this agreement . . ." Rose and one of his attorneys, Reuven J. Katz, seemed somewhat taken aback by Giamatti's statement of his personal conclusions, but they added Giamatti was allowed to say whatever he wished. "I was a little surprised at some of his remarks," said Rose, whose news conference started one hour after Giamatti's began. "Regardless of what the commissioner said today, I did not bet on baseball." Said Katz: "We had no gag rule. We were entitled to say anything we want, and the commissioner, as anyone else, is entitled to say anything he wants to say . . . {Giamatti} signed an agreement. If he contradicted it, you judge." Rose said he abandoned his legal battle because "I just was tired of it," but he also indicated the agreement was an attempt simply to cut his losses. "I could have gotten a year's suspension for betting on anything," he said. "I've already admitted that I bet on other things." Meanwhile, the Reds appointed bench coach Tommy Helms as interim manager. He managed the Reds for 27 games last season while Rose served a 30-day suspension for pushing an umpire and filled in twice this season when Rose missed games for personal reasons. Rose was adamant in his belief he does not need professional treatment for compulsive gambling. "I don't think I have a gambling problem at all," he said. "Consequently I won't seek any help of any kind." There was no doubt about the feelings of Rose and Giamatti concerning the whole episode. "As you can imagine it's a very sad day," Rose said, his voice choking with emotion. "You know I've been in baseball three decades and to think that I'm going to be out of baseball for a very short period of time, uh, hurts. I'd like to apologize for this controversy lingering on into the '89 season. "I hope it didn't distract from the championship season of the 12 teams of the National League and I hope it didn't distract from the All-Star Game and I know now it won't distract from the upcoming playoffs and the showcase of baseball, the World Series. "My only regret," Rose said, "is that I will not have the opportunity to tell my side of the story. However I add that I will tell my side of the story in the very near future." Rose's side of the story may come out this fall, when his autobiography -- a collaborative effort with noted author Roger Kahn -- is scheduled to be published. Said Giamatti: "The banishment for life of Pete Rose from baseball is the sad end of a sorry episode. One of the game's greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game and he must now live with the consequences of those acts." "There had not been such grave allegations since the time of Landis," he said in a reference to Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the commissioner who suspended for life the players involved in the Black Sox scandal after the 1919 World Series. But Giamatti said the Rose case's outcome would "strengthen the confidence of the American public in baseball's integrity. I think the game will emerge stronger." The commissioner's office almost certainly will emerge stronger. Rose filed suit June 19 challenging the commissioner's power to hear evidence on the gambling charges, arguing that Giamatti had already made up his mind on the case. A state court in Ohio agreed with Rose later in June, but after an appeal by baseball the case was ordered on Aug. 17 to be moved to federal court, where the broad powers of the commissioner have always been upheld. Moving the case to federal court -- where a hearing had been scheduled to begin Monday in Columbus, Ohio, on Rose's request for a preliminary injunction -- was regarded as greatly hurting Rose's chances of escaping suspension. "I didn't want this to keep lingering on," Rose said. "I mean this could have gone for another year. There was Columbus next week and appeals and different appeals. Mr. Katz was able to work out this settlement and I agreed." Said Katz: "He got what he wanted, and that is no finding that he bet on baseball. To continue this, which could go on for months -- or even years -- is not in the best interests of Pete's family and the best interests of baseball. And to be able to come to a settlement that both sides think is fair and can live with is the basis for making an agreement." Staff writer Richard Justice, in New York, contributed to this report.