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Over the course of my life being a baseball fan I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of big names from the world of baseball. However, a few of them stand out more than the others.
One was the time I met Pete Rose at Ticketstock in Dallas.
Ticketstock is an event put on by Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket in Dallas. Each year they have a huge carnival like event where they have booths set up, free autographs, and even a concert from the hosts. I’m a huge fan of The Ticket and still listen today while living in South Korea.
I forget the exact year, but it would have been in the early 2000’s. Ticketstock was having the great Pete Rose come and sign free autographs, and who doesn’t love an autograph from one of the all-time greats, even if he is banned for life.
The autographs were free, but there was a catch. You had to get in line early in the day to get a ticket. You could use that ticket later in the day to get a free autograph. So me and my ex went and waited in line early one Saturday to get a ticket. It was fun just to be in line with some interesting people. After a few hours we got our ticket and then had time to check out the rest of Ticketstock before Rose showed up.
The thing that stood out the most, and is the reason I remember it so well, was getting the actual autograph. I’ve gotten plenty and usually, but not always, they will acknowledge you, perhaps say hello, and say you are welcome if you thank them. Pete Rose was nothing like that.
While I wasn’t expecting him to apologize to each and every fan, I was expecting him to at least acknowledge they were there in front of him.
The two of use went with two different items. I had an official MLB baseball, and she had a crisp two dollar bill. I’m a fan of getting autographs on new two dollar bills. They are easy to get, display, and its just something different.
As I walked up I handed my baseball to the helper who waited for Rose to finish the last autograph before handing him my baseball. He never looked up. Never even saw me. He simply signed the baseball and rolled it toward me. If I didn’t catch it, it would have rolled off the table and onto the floor. I’m not even sure if he knew someone was there.
I got out a meek thank you, caught my ball, and walked away.
Thanks Pete Rose for solidifying the notion that you are an ass. Maybe you are. Maybe you aren’t. But that day to this one fan, you were and always will be.
Later, I’ll tell about meeting a Hall of Famer who was the complete opposite of Rose, thankfully.
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Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.