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At Thackeray s Books in West Toledo yesterday afternoon, a prominent display of Pete Rose s much ballyhooed autobiography sat largely ignored. In fact, sales of Rose s confessional were anything but brisk across the city yesterday.
Chris Champion, a public relations representative for Thackeray s Books, said the store wasn t expecting a big rush for Rose s book My Prison Without Bars despite wide-spread media attention. In the book, Rose admits to betting on baseball - something he had denied for 14 years - in the hopes of ending his lifetime ban and gaining entry into the Hall of Fame.
“There has not been a high demand,” said Champion, whose store fielded more calls from local media than customers about the book yesterday.
At Waldenbooks in the Southwyck Shopping Center none of the 12 books the store had in stock were sold.
“I m kind of surprised,” said Sarah Ford, the store s assistant manager. “It s such a controversy. Everyone is talking about it.”
Only two books were sold at B.Dalton Bookseller at Southwyck. Store manager Misha Raker said sales for recent books released by Barry Sanders and Lawrence Taylor were much more brisk. She said only one customer had called to inquire about the Rose book, and the store sold two yesterday.
“When we got Hillary Clinton s book we immediately sold 36 copies,” Raker said.
Ford said both the Sanders and Taylor books sold out within days at Waldenbooks.
“I think the Barry Sanders story was more of a positive story,” Ford said. “I think people are looking at Pete Rose in a negative way.”
But both Ford and Raker also pointed out that those books may have sold better because they were released prior to the holiday season.
Dennis Fennell, who owns Fireside Books on Airport Highway, said he sold four of the 25 books he had in stock yesterday.
“That is about what I expected,” Fennell said. “I think the early demand will be from real Pete Rose fans, but we re not expecting that to last too long.”
Two of those diehard Rose fans, Toleodans Greg Daniels and Kevin Bucher, picked up copies yesterday. Daniels, 42, said he had reserved a copy of the book earlier this week at Fireside Books.
“Doesn t everyone deserve a second chance?” Daniels asked. “He did his time. I think too much has been made of this.”
Daniels, a self-described “huge Rose fan,” said he knew all along that Rose had wagered on baseball.
“I knew he did. I just wished he had come forward sooner,” Daniels said. “That s just the way he is. He doesn t like to admit he is wrong.”
Bucher, who bought a copy of the book yesterday at Thackeray s Books, echoed those sentiments.
“I think the real reason he will be going into the Hall of Fame is because of what he did on the field, with or without the book,” the 40-year-old said.
Bucher said he was a Reds fan growing up and bought the book to get Rose s “perspective on things.
“I got his autograph when I was 15 at a Reds game and I about jumped out of my shoes,” Bucher said. “I had all of his baseball cards.”
Still, Bucher said Rose hurt his credibility by waiting 14 years to confess.
“By waiting that long it just looks like he s trying to get in under the wire to get in the Hall,” Bucher said. “I think he still needs to apologize. He s saying the absolute minimum of what he needs to in order to get into the Hall.
Daniels said he liked Rose because he hated to lose and “was cocky and arrogant.
“I think he will get in [to the Hall of Fame],” Daniels said. “How can you leave out the guy who had the most hits in baseball?”