Friday, January 9, 2004

Read my book before judging me, Rose asks

No. 14 shakes hands with fans, banters at first book signing

By Steve Strunsky
The Associated Press

[IMAGE] Pete Rose discusses his new book Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars during an interview in New York on Thursday, when he started a national book tour.
(Associated Press photo)
RIDGEWOOD, N.J. - Pete Rose asked fans who attended a book-signing Thursday to read his new book before judging him.

More than 200 people lined up outside the store on a cold night for Rose's first public event since acknowledging that he bet on baseball in Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars, which was released Thursday.

Rose sat at a table in the basement at Bookends signing his name in black magic marker, flanked by the store owner and a representative of publisher Rodale Inc.

Rose occasionally added a "14" near his name, the number he wore as a member of the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies organizations. Otherwise, Rose signed only his name.

"I think the fans all realize I made the mistakes and I'm sorry that I did, and I want to put it behind me," Rose said during the signing. "I don't want to live in the past."

Rose shook hands with book buyers as they filed passed.

"Have a good drive back," he told Matthew Goldup, 13, of East Greenbush, N.Y., who made the 21/2 -hour drive to the store with his father, Robert. "He asked me if I was doing good in school," said Goldup.

Robert Goldup, 46, called the drive "a history road trip."

Walter Boyer, owner of the Ridgewood bookstore, said he heard Rose would be in the area - he is scheduled for a signing at Borders Books in Manhattan Friday - so Boyer called Rodale to suggest his store as a suburban venue. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jimmy Carter and David Wells all have signed their books there, Boyer said.

Boyer said he expected to sell all 1,000 copies of the book he had in stock by closing time Thursday.

Rose said he felt unburdened by the admission in the book, made after denying for years that he had bet on baseball.

"I feel like I've been walking around with a 1,500- pound gorilla on my shoulders," he said Thursday.

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