Thursday, September 14, 2000

Pete Rose bats for Deters

Baseball great to appear at local fund-raiser

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — Eric Deters is hoping for a political home run from Pete Rose.

        Mr. Rose, the former Cincinnati Reds player and manager and baseball's all-time leader in hits, has agreed to a rare political appearance on behalf of Mr. Deters' campaign to be elected Kenton County attorney.

        Mr. Rose will be the main attraction at an Oct. 5 political fund-raiser and rally Mr. Deters has scheduled at the Drawbridge Inn and Convention Center in Fort Mitchell.

        Donors writing campaign checks for up to $1,000 are being courted for the event, but anyone can get in for $5 to hear Mr. Rose speak and to seek his autograph.

        Mr. Deters, an Independence Republican active in Northern Kentucky GOP politics, is hoping for a big turnout.

        “Pete doesn't do political events very often, so this is big for me and it's big for Northern Kentucky, because anybody with five bucks can get in,” Mr. Deters said.

        “We're going to have beer, soft drinks, hotdogs, brats, peanuts, songs like "Take Me Out to The Ball Game,' just about anything you can find at a baseball game,” he said.

        Even though Mr. Deters won't challenge Garry Edmondson, the Democratic incumbent, for another two years, the event is generating a buzz among Northern Kentucky politicos and contributors.

        While political and social calendars are packed with fund-raisers and other events leading up to the Nov. 7 election, Mr. Deters' rally seems to be garnering most of the attention this campaign season.

        “I think it's a great idea,” said Kenton County Republican Chairman Greg Shumate, a Villa Hills lawyer. “What's so good about it is that it is different. It's certainly different from the same type of political function that is held all the time in Northern Kentucky.”

        Mr. Edmondson would not comment on the event.

        Other Democrats, however, noted that Mr. Deters, who is running to become a criminal prosecutor, is featuring Mr. Rose, who is serving a lifetime ban from baseball because of gambling and who served time in prison on a tax-related conviction.

        “I think it's ironic,” said Kenton County Clerk Bill Aylor, a Democrat.

        Several other Democrats contacted would not talk on the record or allow their names to be used. While some said they had a problem with Mr. Rose getting involved in the campaign, they said they also realize that in the eyes of most fans here he is still a baseball hero.

        “This is a mixed-bag for Eric,” said a Kenton County Democratic activist, who commented on the condition his name not be used. “There are a lot of people who are critical of Pete for betting on baseball, but he is still viewed as the hometown hero.

        “What I don't see is people coming to get Pete Rose's autograph translating into support for Eric's campaign,” the party leader said.

        Mr. Deters, who said he met Mr. Rose while working on a business deal, said people have forgiven Mr. Rose for his “past sins.”

        “Pete is a hero, and I challenge any Democrat or Republican to step up and vow that they have never broken any of the 10 Commandments,” he said.

        The event is planned for 5 to 8 p.m., and Mr. Rose is scheduled to speak and sign autographs. The suggested minimum contribution to Mr. Deters' campaign is $50. Those contributing $500 or more are guaranteed to have their photograph taken with Mr. Rose during a private reception from 5 to 6 p.m. Children will be admitted free.

        “Everybody else attending can try to get their picture with him or get his autograph, but I just can't guarantee that will happen,” Mr. Deters said.

        Mr. Rose can demand up to $25,000 for personal appearances and autograph sessions. Mr. Deters acknowledged he will pay Mr. Rose a fee, but he would not divulge the amount.

        Mr. Deters added that the event will comply with all state campaign finance laws.


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