A monumental mistakeIn the gospel according to Dr. Peter...

Off the beat

June 16, 1991

A monumental mistake

In the gospel according to Dr. Peter Merrill, "Pete Rose should be forgiven, not forgotten."

And if Rose isn't on the Hall of Fame ballot by Labor Day, Merrill says he will go ahead with his plans to erect a Pete Rose memorial as close to the Hall of Fame as possible.

"That way, people will see Pete when they come to the Hall of Fame," said Merrill, pastor of the tiny Hallton Church of Christ in Austin, Pa.

A statue of Pete Rose smack-dab in the middle of Cooperstown? Is he kidding?

"It sounds to me like he's serious," said Don Olin, a local Realtor who has spoken with Merrill about the purchase of land for the project.

Merrill has taken some preliminary steps -- he's formed the Pete Rose Memorial Fund and rented a post office box here, although he hasn't received any letters yet.

The Hall of Fame has declined to comment on Merrill's monument, but Cooperstonians seem to think the idea would not be a good idea.

"I can think of a great spot -- up by the jail," Margaret Savoy said. "Let's immortalize what he's done wrong."

"Sounds like a vendetta against the Hall of Fame or the village," said Hugh MacDougall, a former village trustee.

What is golf?

Women and minorities won't have to wait for special tee times and find certain rooms off-limits at Michigan country clubs if the state House accepts a civil rights bill passed by the Senate, but Sen. Jackie Vaughn of Detroit doesn't think it will be all that significant.

If the bill passes, golf clubs could not restrict tee times and access to facilities based on sex, age, race, religion and several other considerations. If they did, the state could pull their liquor licenses.

"Before we shout hurrah, my district will say, 'What's a country club?' " Vaughn said. "The struggle continues. It is a drop in the ocean."

Holy rollers

Chicago's homeless will enjoy some of California's bounty because of a friendly pastoral bet on the NBA Finals.

Los Angeles Catholic Cardinal-elect Roger Mahony and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago had exchanged faxes before the Finals, setting up a wager: If the Bulls lost, Los Angeles would be 50 pounds of Chicago hot dogs richer; if the Bulls won, 25 lugs of California fruit would be sent to Chicago.

Mahony acknowledged his loss promptly, according to an archdiocese news release.

". . . In the spirit of good sportsmanship, I wish to acknowledge your Chicago victory and to acknowledge our Los Angeles defeat," Mahony faxed.

"According to the terms of our wager, I am having 25 lugs of a fine California produce -- plums, nectarines or grapes -- delivered to your pastoral center within a few days."

But civic pride dies hard and Mahony couldn't resist a parting shot:

"When many of my priests heard that your wager was for only 50 pounds of Chicago hot dogs, they suggested that we pray for the Bulls to win. With our far superior 'Dodger Dogs' here in Los Angeles, it would have been an act of humility to receive the lesser Chicago hot dogs into our community."

The quote

Former Formula One champion Alan Jones, commenting to Mario Andretti about racing against Mario's sons: "It's tougher and tougher with all these young kids coming along, and now you've got to breed them."

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