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No Pizza For Pete Rose

June 16, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ He’s out again.

Baseball pariah Pete Rose won’t be joining Pizza Hut’s roster of advertising spokesmen, the leading pizza chain said Friday.

It abruptly canceled plans this week to make a commercial featuring the former baseball superstar who was banned from the game for life in 1989 for gambling.

The chain had planned to shoot a commercial with Rose on Friday in New Jersey but backed off after its executives reconsidered the plans on Wednesday. The decision was first reported in The Wall Street Journal.

The restaurant chain found other celebrities that it will use who can command attention and better project its fun family image, spokesman Rob Doughty told The Associated Press. Doughty said Rose ``just doesn’t fit our image right now.″

He didn’t offer any further explanation for why Rose’s appearance was canceled so suddenly. But Doughty said the company is on a tight time schedule for creating commercials to promote its Stuffed Crust pizza.

He said the company instructed its ad agency BBDO New York to suggest a number of celebrities and situations that it could use for ads that it wants to begin running within a few weeks.

BBDO had created a commercial script for Rose, scouted a location in Clinton, N.J., where the ad was to have been shot and sent Rose airline tickets to travel to New York from Boca Raton, Fla., where he runs a restaurant business.

Pizza Hut introduced Stuffed Crust pizza in April with commercials that featured Donald Trump and his ex-wife Ivana and San Antonio Spurs superstar David Robinson with his offbeat teammate Dennis Rodman.

The script had a young boy asking Rose about his accomplishments in baseball. At the end, Rose would have asked if the boy likes his pizza and the boy replies, ``You bet.″ Rose wryly replies that wasn’t the best choice of words.

A call to Rose at his restaurant in Boca Raton was not returned. But the Journal said Rose had said in an interview on Wednesday that ``most people have the attitude that I’ve been in the penalty box too long.″

Rose played most of his career for the Cincinnati Reds and still holds the Major League Baseball record for the most career hits. He has an extensive past as a celebrity endorser, pitching products ranging from Wheaties to Aqua Velva after-shave.

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