CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Pete Rose Book—Confessions Of A Former Star In Turmoil

21 January 2004

            I met Pete Rose once in the 1990s. We were both at Bally's in Las Vegas for a night of tribute to the great Willie Mays. Johnny Bench, Duke Snider, Reggie Jackson and Frank Robinson were there as well. Each of them graciously signed balls, bats, and memorabilia connected with baseball. Pete Rose was all energy. He signed, he greeted, he smiled, he ran here and there and he showed class and patience.

            Others have said, in writing, Rose lacked those traits, insisting that his "Charlie Hustle" image followed him off the playing field. It does seem as if Rose craves action, though. Perhaps gambling filled that need as it does others. His mistake was betting on baseball, something he denied he did for more than a decade.

            Now comes the book Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars (322 pages, hardbound, illustrated, not indexed, $24.95), co-authored with Rick Hill. Weeks before the book was available, coincidentally, about the time the Baseball Hall of Fame nominees were announced, the book was "hyped." Then followed his tardy confession that he had indeed bet on baseball, including his own team while he managed (Cincinnati).

            Now the controversy began again. Does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame based on his on-field performance? Will baseball let him coach or manage at any level, major or minor league? Was the book released to gain maximum publicity just before the 2004 season begins?

            Right now, the book has shot to the top tier of the best-seller lists.

            Is it worth the price? A good question.

            This is a book going in many directions. Rose tells you about his family life, how he worked to overcome handicaps of size and some apparent learning disabilities. He was a stubborn, talented, headstrong kid who grew up in a sports-oriented environment.

            Rose tells about his earliest days in baseball, constantly trying to improve his game—who he admired, and on page 117 we find out why he began to enjoy betting on sports: "An avid fan will lay $100 on the game just to stick it in the bookie's ear, which creates healthy competition. He's no longer a fan. He's a competitor, trying to kick the bookie's ass. He's got a vested interest in the game. That's the difference between a gambler and a bookmaker. A bookmaker is in it for the money. A gambler is in it for the competition...the excitement...the action."

            He candidly says, "I can't honestly remember the first time I bet on baseball," but admits, "betting on the playoffs ( Mets vs. Astros in 1986) makes the games more exciting to watch."

            Rose has his opinions about celebrities who gambled and points out many big names in sports found joy at the racetracks and that people can bet on the Internet. He's got no patience with those who report news or rumors about him without checking with him or the compete facts. He's honest about what he thinks he gave to baseball and what the sport gave him. He's lived a tumultuous life—a marriage gone sour and time in jail included.

            Maybe one thing he left out was why he lost so much money betting baseball—what "handicapping" did he do if any? What made him bet on any team, including the Reds on a particular day? Did he crave action or was he bored or did he really think he found some sort of "edge," being that close to the sport?

            Pete Rose—My Prison Without Bars can be interesting at times when he talks about what made him a great hitter—the little tricks he employed to get on base outwit pitchers. He offers funny inside stories about players, umpires, the higher-ups of baseball.

            He's not apologetic, but yet he seems to reach out for sympathy for himself. It's an odd mixture—sometimes confusing, subject to your own interpretation. He had it all, he was on top of the world, but he blew it, tumbled, got up, dusted himself off and is asking for another chance.

            Only time will tell if the powers to be in baseball at the Hall of Fame and his fellow players ever forgive him for the Big Lie and the black eye it gave baseball.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com