Oh, Pete Rose. Years after allegations of him illicitly gambling on the sport he played forced him from Major League Baseball—and apparently permanently kept him from induction into the Hall of Fame—his name still manages to pop up and make waves. Earlier this year, I discovered that Rose had found a way to make money by selling baseballs bearing his autograph…along with bizarre admissions and apologies for things he may or may not have ever done (such as being the first man on the moon or screwing up the economy, among others).
Earlier this week, Rose has appeared in the world of sports collectibles yet again. An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the five-page, 1989 document that banned Rose from baseball forever has gone on the auction block at Goldin Auctions of New Jersey. The contract features Rose’s signature, as well as that of then-baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti. In addition to banning Rose from the sport that made him famous, it also does not feature an admission from Rose of any wrongdoing.
The significance of the contract is indisputable: Pete Rose is one of American sports’ most infamous figures—a combination of his achievement of earning the most hits in baseball history, and his subsequent disgrace. But the document’s value seems to be far more of a question mark. The auction house’s owner, Ken Goldin, estimates that the contract could fetch more than $500,000, and has set the opening bidding at $100,000. By contrast, the article cites another auction house owner, David Hunt, who believes that collectors will stay away from the piece because of the taint Rose’s name brings.
So far, it looks like Hunt may have the right of it. The auction began on Monday and will run for over a month…and there are no bids as of yet. Obviously there’s plenty of time for big spenders to swoop in and try to buy the contract. But don’t be surprised if sports fans choose to spend their cash elsewhere.
[Via Philadelphia Inquirer]