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McLain’s Publisher Isn’t Interested in Revised Book

Associated Press

Denny McLain might want to take back some of what he said about his racketeering and drug case in his autobiography, “Strikeout,” but the publisher of the book is not listening.

“His book didn’t sell worth a damn.” Richard Waters, president and chief executive officer of The Sporting News, said Friday after hearing that McLain had been ordered by a judge to change the book. “You think a revision would help?

“I haven’t heard from him and didn’t know the judge asked him to do that. It sounds like a completely different story. I don’t think we’d be interested.

“But if he comes to us and asks, I’d have to talk to our editors and marketing department. It’s got to be a business judgment.”

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The two-time Cy Young Award winner was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich to time already served and 5 years probation on racketeering and cocaine charges, and was told to alter his book to reflect the guilty plea he entered to avoid retrial.

McLain, 44, was convicted in March 1985 and served 29 months of a 23-year sentence before a federal appeals court ordered him released from prison because of errors made during a 14-week trial.

In the book, McLain denied all of the charges against him.

“It’s about time you start getting things truthfully in order,” the judge said Thursday when she sentenced McLain. “You may find the catharsis enjoyable.”

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Baseball’s last 30-game winner pleaded guilty to racketeering and cocaine possession and distribution charges to avoid a retrial before Kovachevich, whose handling of the case played a role in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to overturn McLain’s conviction.

The appeals judges in Atlanta criticized Kovachevich for speeding up the trial’s pace to suit her crowded court schedule and also cited government prosecutor Ernst Mueller for wrongfully accusing McLain’s former lawyer of lying and misleading the jury.

At the sentencing hearing Thursday, Mueller introduced excerpts of the book to show the ex-pitcher lacks remorse for the crimes he admitted in the plea agreement.

“It seems to me that if McLain walks out of this courtroom on probation, that, in the public eye, is going to be an endorsement of this matter,” Mueller told the judge.

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Kovachevich, who said she hasn’t read “Strikeout,” is accused in the book of trying to publicly humiliate McLain and of conducting a personal vendetta in denying him bond.

The judge did not order specific book revisions, only that they “embody the truth of the matters in the plea agreement.”

McLain’s court-appointed attorney, Thomas J. Hanlon, said the former player will comply with Kovachevich’s request, but he has no idea if a publisher will agree to print it.

Waters said McLain owns the television and motion picture rights to the book and might be able to use one of those mediums to get his revision to the public.

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A revision would mean that two books--containing contraditory information--would be on the markets at the same time.


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