Pete Rose is sorry — and for the right price, you can own a baseball with him saying just that.
Baseball's all-time hit king, banned from the game in 1989 for betting on baseball, has signed basballs with a confessional inscription: "I'm sorry I bet on baseball — Pete Rose," the New York Daily News reported.
And they're for sale.
Robert Edward Auctions, a New Jersey auction house, plans to sell 30 of the baseballs.
"This is where the baseball collectibles field has impact on the history of the game," Rob Lifson, president of Robert Edward Auctions, told the Daily News. "The collectibles field is not just shadowing the game — it's affecting its history."
Baseballs with Rose's signature sell for $25 to $50, but Lifson expects the "Confession Balls," as he will label them in the auction, will sell for $1,000 each, he told the newspaper.
Rose's agent Warren Greene and attorney Roger Makley did not return calls seeking comment, the Daily News reported. But Greene told Sports Collectors Digest that Rose did sign the balls.
"Pete told me he signed a couple of dozen as a favor to the guys in Cooperstown," Greene is quoted as saying in a story slated to appear in Sports Collectors Digest this week, the Daily News reported. The "guys in Cooperstown" are Tom Catal and Andrew Vilacky, two memorabilia dealers affiliated with Pete Rose Collectibles and the Pete Rose Museum, on the third floor of Catal's collectibles store in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Robert Edward Auctions obtained 30 of the balls from the estate of Barry Halper, a New Jersey businessman, limited partner in the Yankees and memorabilia collector who died last year.
According to Lifson and Sports Collectors Digest reporter T.S. O'Connell, autograph authenticator James Spence has found several additional balls on the open market. O'Connell told the Daily News "40 to 50" of the balls are known to exist.