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Pete Rose checks head to auction

10/3/2013

Four checks written by Pete Rose, which were used as evidence of a betting history that resulted in his being banished from baseball, will go up for auction Friday.

"There is no doubt of the historical significance behind these checks," said Ken Goldin, president of New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions, which is bringing the checks to the marketplace for the first time. "Pete is one of the greatest players of all time and certainly one of the most intriguing."

Goldin would not disclose who consigned the checks to his company other than to say it was not Rose. A phone message left for Rose was not returned.

Two of the checks from February 1986 were made out to cash for $8,000. They were cashed by Tommy Gioiosa, a manager at a Gold's Gym in suburban Cincinnati who was responsible for placing bets for Rose in 1985 and 1986, according to the Dowd report, an investigation that found Rose gambled while playing and managing the Cincinnati Reds. The money was then given to Rose's bookie, Ronald Peters, who told authorities that Rose's bets over a two-year period may have surpassed $1 million.

Two other checks that are also part of the lot include a $5,000 check endorsed by Paul Janszen, who took over for Gioiosa by placing bets for Rose in 1987.

In September 2012, Goldin Auctions put Rose's personal five-page copy of the 1989 agreement that would banish him from baseball on the block, but it failed to meet its reserve price of more than $225,000. The lot of signed checks starts at a markedly more affordable opening bid of $2,500.

The online auction -- which closes Nov. 1 -- has other Rose items, including a lot of more than 100 documents signed by Rose, a check from Rose made out to and endorsed by Nolan Ryan for $850 for tickets, and a copy of Rose's final contract to manage the Reds.

Other items in the auction include Marvin Miller's 1966 contract that names him the executive director of the MLB Players Association and one of two existing 1978 New York Yankees World Series rings owned by Reggie Jackson.

Another star of the auction is a Lou Gehrig bat, used sometime in games between 1936 and 1938, which is expecting to draw bids upward of $300,000.

In his 2004 autobiography, "My Prison Without Bars," Rose admitted for the first time to betting on baseball while he was managing the Reds but said he never bet against the team. Rose, who is still the sport's career hits leader with 4,256, makes more than $1 million a year signing autographs in Las Vegas, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It is not known if a baseball commissioner will ever rule on Rose's 1997 application to be reinstated to the game, though the fact that Bud Selig, who has been in office since 1992, is stepping down at the end of next season could open the door.