Pete Rose finally
has the balls to say he's sorry.
Yes, he spent 15
years denying he gambled on baseball while managing the Reds, but that was
then. This is now, and Robert Edward Auctions (REA) says that next April it
will put up for bid 30 baseballs Rose signed with a mea culpa that he first
made in his 2004 book, My Prison Without Bars: "I'm sorry I bet on
REA acquired the
balls earlier this year, when the family of �bercollector Barry Halper, who
died last December, let president Robert Lifson sift through items in Halper's
estate. "What really hit me when I saw these," Lifson says, "is
that there will never be a Hall of Famer who signs, 'I bet on baseball.'"
Lifson expects the balls to fetch substantially more than the $25 to $50 a Rose
autograph usually goes for, possibly upward of $1,000 each. "They looked
more like what's going to be on his tombstone," he says.
Lifson doesn't know
how Halper got the balls or when Rose signed them. (Rose's agent, Warren
Greene, didn't return calls from SI; he confirmed the balls' authenticity to
Sports Collectors Digest, a memorabilia trade publication, last week.) Another
mystery: Where are the rest of the Confession Balls? REA's 30 have random I.D.
numbers between 215 and 296 and are marked as part of a limited collection of
303. Lifson doesn't know where the rest are or how Rose thought they'd help his
case for reinstatement. Maybe he was concerned only about how they would help
his bottom line.