TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

March 4, 2013

Bingo Joe and Pete Rose

CORBIN — A well-connected friend in New Orleans took me to the critically acclaimed Galatoires restaurant for a fine dining experience at one of the top restaurants in the United States.

My friend has a business relationship with the restaurant and knew everyone there. He asked for John, an entertaining 40-year-old veteran waiter, to serve us. My host insisted on paying for lunch, but I insisted on leaving the tip.

After handing John a large tip, as I reminded him of my name and my Kentucky roots, John and I parted as friends.

My wife becomes president of Ursuline Academy this summer. I am also in the process of opening an office for McNay Settlement Group in New Orleans. Both of us will have reason to entertain people at Galatoires.

When that happens, I know John will be my server. And my clients and friends will get the same VIP treatment that I got.

Building a relationship with a star professional at a world famous restaurant in a city where I am just getting established seems like a no brainer, but I see a lot of businesspeople with no brains. Servers are anonymous and faceless to them.

When those people go to dine, you will see them waiting in line for three hours to get a table.

My streetwise father, Joe McNay, taught me that servers, nurses, plumbers and other support people can be the most important individuals in your life. Dad died 20 years ago this week at age 59.

Dad only made it to the 10th grade, but was smarter than any PhD in understanding human relationships. I always thought he should have been in politics. Instead, he was a bookie and a professional gambler.

Dad was not a millionaire, but he lived like one. His personality and connections gave him a tremendous amount of clout.

Dad fought bravely against prostate cancer and as the end drew near, I had one deathbed question.

Did Pete Rose bet on baseball?

I did not mention dad’s friendship with Pete Rose in my 2008 book, “Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win the Lottery.”

At that time, Pete had not admitted he bet on baseball. I wrote the book like my dad was looking over my shoulder. I was not going to hurt or embarrass one of his friends.

I’m releasing an updated version of the book on my dad’s 80th birthday, July 30. Several people have died since the first release, so the book will be more revealing.

Dad’s friends and clients were a “Who’s Who” of the Cincinnati region, but in most circumstances, I never knew who was a client and who was just a friend.

I guessed that Pete was a client, but never knew for sure.

I knew Dad and Pete were good friends. During college, Dad gave me Pete’s tickets and seated me next to a stunning young blond named Carol. At the time, Pete was married to a woman named Karolyn. When Pete came to bat, Carol would jump up and down and go crazy. I got the impression Carol and Pete were more than casual friends.

A couple of years later, Carol became Mrs. Pete Rose.

Even though he broke the law every day of his adult life, Dad was honest, but closedmouthed about his client list. Thus, asking him about Pete was something I only would do on his deathbed.

He told me that Pete never bet on baseball with him and only bet football for a short time. Dad thought that having a sports figure client like Pete was not a good business decision.

The bookie who took Pete’s baseball bets should have made the same decision.

I still wasn’t sure about writing about Pete until famed Knoxville trial attorney, Donna Davis, and her husband, Ivan “Buzz” Beltz, ran into Pete, who was signing his book, “A Prison Without Bars,” in Las Vegas.

They told Pete of their friendship with me, and Pete sent back a book with the following inscription.

“Don. Bingo Joe was the best. He owes me $100. Pete Rose, #4256.”

I figured the cat was out of the bag at that point.

Last year, I met Dad’s close friend, the legendary “Music Professor,” Jim LaBarbara, at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse in Cincinnati. Pete was there too. Pete immediately said the same $100 line he wrote in the book.

Then he stopped for a second and said, “You know, it is probably the other way around.”

If there was any debt owed, it would have to be on Pete’s side. Dad never missed paying off a bet. If Dad had to borrow money from everyone in town, he did. Paying promptly is what keeps a bookie in business.

There are a lot of ways I thought about paying tribute to dad on the 20th anniversary of his death, but I suspect giving the tip to John at Galatoires might have been the most fitting.

The lessons from a streetwise man had been passed down through the generations.

I can’t imagine a better tribute than that.

Don McNay, www.donmcnay.com, is the author of the bestselling book, Life Lessons From the Lottery.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide