Pete Rose did not endorse Donald Trump, lawyer says

By Shawn Price   |   March 16, 2016 at 12:08 AM

CINCINNATI, March 15 (UPI) -- Controversial baseball legend Pete Rose definitely did not endorse Donald Trump for president, his attorney said Monday.

Rose, whose gambling activities have kept him out of the Hall of Fame, is still a beloved figure in the state of Ohio, where he spent most of his career. GOP front runner Trump clearly tried to capitalize on that for Tuesday's Ohio primary with a tweeted picture of an autographed baseball by Rose that reads: "Mr. Trump, Please make America great again"

Rose's attorney, Ray Genco, told the Washington Post it was not even close to an endorsement.

"We do not know how Mr. Trump got the ball," Genco said.

Genco also sent out a statement on social media that made it clear.

"Pete has made a point not to 'endorse' any particular presidential candidate," he wrote.

"Though he respects everyone who works hard for our country -- any outlet that misinterpreted a signed baseball for an endorsement was wrong. Pete did not personally send any candidate a baseball or a note of endorsement. ... He believes that who to vote for is a decision each voter should decide for him or herself.

"Above politics, it's leadership and teamwork make all the difference," Genco continued. "Both the left and right are Baseball fans- and it is those institutions and their people that make America exceptional."

Shortly after Trump's tweet on Sunday evening, baseball fans began to question the authenticity of the ball, including making the case "Pete Rose will put anything on a ball for $75" one collector said.

In his own tweet, John Fischesser showed various other balls signed by Rose in a tongue-in-cheek manner that read, "I was the first man on the moon," or "Sorry I screwed up the economy."

FiveThirtyEight.com noted Rose has also written things like "Sorry I shot JFK" and "Sorry I broke up the Beatles."

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