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Pete Rose

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Note: This page links to Pete Rose, Sr., the all time leader in hits. For his son who played in 1997, click here.


Peter Edward Rose Sr.
(Charlie Hustle)

BR page


[edit] Biographical Information

Rose in his rookie year (1963)

Pete Rose consistently batted over .300 and was an important component of the "Big Red Machine", the Cincinnati Reds teams that dominated the National League in the 1970s. During this time, Rose played on four league champions and two World Series winners. In 1975, Pete was named the World Series Most Valuable Player, Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year" and The Sporting News "Man of the Year."

He holds the major league records for games (3562), at bats (14053), hits (4256), and singles (3215). He also has the most RBI of any player without a season of 100 or more (1314, with a career-high of 82 in 1969). He is the only player in major league history to play at least 500 games at five separate positions (1B, 2B, 3B, LF and RF), winning Gold Glove Awards for his outfield play in 1969 and 1970. Rose was the first player to have ten seasons of 200 or more hits. Ichiro Suzuki later matched the feat. When he broke Ty Cobb's career record for hits, on September 11, 1985 against Eric Show of the San Diego Padres, it was considered one of the great moments in baseball history, receiving coast-to-coast coverage on major news programs.

He got his nickname "Charlie Hustle" originally as a derogatory term from other ballplayers because he always ran to first base, even on a walk. Throughout his career, there was a general sense that he was perhaps less talented than some other ballplayers but made up for it by trying harder. His aggressive style of play was famously illustrated when he bowled over catcher Ray Fosse to score the winning run of the 1970 All-Star Game. From the mid-1970s onward, he was the most famous baseball player in America, adulated by broadcasters - although perhaps not so much by fans outside of his hometown. Broadcasters loved to repeat various quotes about him, the most famous being "He has forgotten more about baseball than most people will ever know" and "I don't steal bases against pitchers, I steal them against outfielders". He was so well-known that the New York Times crossword puzzle regularly featured the clue "Baseball's Rose" for the word "Pete".

Although identified as a home-town star for the Reds, he signed a lucrative contract to play first base for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1979. The big paycheck seemed justified when the club won its first World Series the following year and added another NL pennant in 1983, although Rose was not contributing much by then, having been benched for the Phils' pennant push in September. Wanting to break Ty Cobb's record for lifetime hits, Rose started 1984 with the Montreal Expos, for whom he got is 4000th hit, before the Reds repatriated him towards the end of that season and made him a player-manager. It was in his second stint with the Reds that he passed Cobb on September 11, 1985, getting the record-breaking hit at home against Eric Show of the San Diego Padres, in an event that received extensive and fawning media coverage at the time.

140 pix

Rose was the last playing manager in major league history with the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1986. He continued managing the Reds until 1989, when he was suspended because of allegations that he had bet on games while manager of the Reds. Commissioner Bart Giamatti ordered an investigation into the allegations; its findings constitute the Dowd Report. After a series of legal challenges, in August 1989 Rose agreed to a deal with the Commissioner under whose terms he would be permanently banned from baseball, but eligible to apply for reinstatement after one year. In return for making the agreement, Major League Baseball would not formally find Rose guilty; nonetheless Giamatti expressed his belief in Rose's guilt at the press conference announcing the ban. Speculation is that Giamatti proposed that deal in order to bring to an end the increasingly ugly legal dispute, which threatened to seriously tarnish baseball's image. His motivations have never fully been explained, as he died only a few days later.

As a result, Rose remains banned from baseball to this day and is not eligible for admission to the Hall of Fame. Rose has pleaded repeatedly to be reinstated, first by attacking the Dowd Report and pretending that it contained little or no evidence of wrong-doing, then by progressively admitting to actions more and more serious, but stopping short of admitting to having bet on his own team. It became clear after a while that Commissioner Bud Selig had no intention to revisit the issue (even though rumors would emerge from time time that a deal was in the works, rumors that never amounted to anything concrete), but as soon as Rob Manfred succeeded Selig as Commissioner in 2015, Rose submitted another application for reinstatement. Manfred refused to be pressured into rushing to a conclusion, explaining that he would carefully review all of the elements of the case. At this point, John Dowd, the author of the accusatory report that had led to Rose's ban, broke out of his silence of many years to express in very strong terms his conviction that Rose should never be admitted back into baseball, given the seriousness of his trespasses and the need to protect the integrity of the game. Rose's credibility took another serious blow in June of 2015, when a long-lost notebook turned up in the hands of ESPN; the notebook documents extensive betting on baseball games during the 1986 season, corroborating the contents of the Dowd Report. The notebook had been seized by police from the home of a former Rose associate two months after Rose's ban in 1989, and had remained under court-ordered seal for all those years. Dowd stated: "This is the final piece of the puzzle. This is it, this does it. This closes the door." There were questions raised about the timing of the release, as observers wondered whether it was timed to make sure that Commissioner Manfred would not reopened the suspension, but no one disputed the authenticity of the document, with some reporters calling the "smoking gun" that had been missing all of those years.

He did not help his case when he failed to report his income from memorabilia signings and related deals and was convicted of tax evasion, serving time in a minimum security correctional facility in the early 1990s. He remains in debt to the IRS. The ban is not limited to Rose's eligibility for the Hall of Fame: he is also not allowed to appear on a major league field (although MLB made two notable exceptions, when he was named to the All-Century Team, and for the 25th anniversary of his breaking Ty Cobb's hit record), and he cannot appear in any products licensed by MLB. This means, for example, that the Topps baseball card company has not issued a card bearing his likeness since the ban, even though it regularly features images of past baseball greats from all eras, and even goes so far as to avoid writing his name on any card, even when context makes it clear that an item refers to Rose. Rose has pleaded to no avail to have that policy reversed.

Rose wrote the book My Prison Without Bars (with Rick Hill) published by Rodale Press in 2004. It was widely viewed as one more in a string of attempts to gain reinstatement by admitting to the gambling allegations and the validity of the findings in the Dowd Report. However Rose was combative in his admission, continuing to attack the investigation against him and his accusers, leaving the public doubtful of his contrition. There is still a significant movement of support among fans, particularly in Cincinnati, in favor of Rose's reinstatement, although he has so far received a much less sympathetic hearing from the media, Major League Baseball, and most researchers. The controversy over his guilt continues to flare up regularly, more than 25 years after the alleged betting took place.

Rose received rare positive attention when Major League Baseball allowed him to participate in an on-field ceremony at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park on September 11, 2010. The date marked the 25th anniversary of Rose breaking Ty Cobb's hit record, and it was the first time the Reds had been allowed to directly honor Rose since his expulsion from baseball. Rose was honored with an on-field ceremony while a pre-recorded message played from the stadium's video board. Here Rose expressed more contrition for his actions than he had done previously. Unfortunately for Rose, he followed the ceremony by appearing at an area casino for another event. That was characteristic, because although he likes to call himself "Baseball's greatest ambassador", he made most of his income after the ban from the sale of merchandise and autographs, meaning he was constantly making paid appearances to sell these wares.

He is the brother of minor league pitcher David Rose, and the father of Major League player Pete Rose Jr.. Barry Larkin played with both Rose Sr. and Rose Jr.

In 1991, Ruth played a cameo role in the TV film Babe Ruth as Ty Cobb, the man whose record for lifetime hits he surpassed. Because of Rose's lifetime ban, Major League Baseball would not permit him to wear a licensed uniform in the film so his scene had to be rewritten to take place in a bar [1]. On October 2, 2006 Rose admitted to TV host David Letterman that he used amphetamines while playing. In January of 2013, he became the star of his own reality TV show, Hits and Mrs., on TLC. The show featured his current wife, a former Playboy model who has undergone various body-enhancing surgeries, his Korean-American in-laws, and his regular pleas for reinstatement by Major League Baseball, all in keeping with his tawdry reputation. On June 16, 2014, in another stunt, he was hired as a one-day manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, which is out of the reach of the Commissioner's writ. He fulfilled his duty by managing from the first base coach's box, in order to make the stunt more visible for fans. Bridgeport won the game, 2-0, over the Lancaster Barnstormers. He received another surge of attention around the 2015 All-Star Game, played in Cincinnati, when he was allowed to be introduced to the crowd as one of the Reds' "Franchise Four", alongside Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin and Joe Morgan.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 1963 NL Rookie of the Year Award
  • 1963 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 17-time NL All-Star (1965, 1967-1971, 1973-1982 & 1985)
  • NL MVP: 1973
  • 1975 World Series MVP
  • 2-time NL Gold Glove Winner (1969/OF & 1970/OF)
  • NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1981/1B)
  • 3-time NL Batting Average Leader (1968, 1969 & 1973)
  • 2-time NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1968 & 1979)
  • 4-time NL At-Bats Leader (1965, 1972, 1973 & 1977)
  • 4-time NL Runs Scored Leader (1969, 1974, 1975 & 1976)
  • 7-time NL Hits Leader (1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1976 & 1981)
  • 3-time NL Singles Leader (1973, 1979 & 1981)
  • 5-time NL Doubles Leader (1974, 1975, 1976, 1978 & 1980)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 10 (1963, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1972-1976 & 1978)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 10 (1965, 1966, 1968-1970, 1973, 1975-1977 & 1979)
  • Won three World Series with the Cincinnati Reds (1975 & 1976) and the Philadelphia Phillies (1980)

1972 1973 1974
Johnny Bench Pete Rose Steve Garvey
NL Rookie of the Year
1962 1963 1964
Ken Hubbs Pete Rose Dick Allen

Preceded by
Vern Rapp
Cincinnati Reds Manager
Succeeded by
Tommy Helms

[edit] Records Held

  • Games, career, organized baseball, 3,916
  • Games, career, 3,562
  • Games, switch hitter, career, 3,562
  • At bats, career, 14,053
  • At bats, switch hitter, career, 14,053
  • Hits, career, organized baseball, 4,683
  • Hits, career, 4,256
  • Hits, switch hitter, career, 4,256
  • Hits, switch hitter, season, 230, 1973 (tied)
  • Runs, switch hitter, career, 2,165
  • Singles, career, 3,215
  • Singles, switch hitter, career, 3,215
  • Doubles, switch hitter, career, 746
  • Outs, career, 10,328
  • Outs, switch hitter, career, 10,328
  • Plate appearances, career, 15,890
  • Plate appearances, switch hitter, career, 15,890
  • Times reached base, career, 5,929
  • Times reached base, switch hitter, career, 5,929
  • Total bases, switch hitter, career, 5,727
  • Seasons with 150 or more games, 17
  • Seasons with 100 or more games, 23 (consecutive)

[edit] Famous Last

Last player-manager in the major leagues (1986)

[edit] References

[edit] Further Reading

  • Thomas Boswell: "Hustling to Tie Cobb", in How Life Imitates the World Series, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1982, pp. 215-224.
  • William A. Cook: Pete Rose: Baseball's All-Time Hit King, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2004. ISBN 978-0-7864-1733-9
  • Jack Daugherty: "Pete Rose: The Boy from Braddock Street", USA Today, June 14, 2015. [1]
  • Paul Daugherty: "Doc: Notebook closes door on Pete Rose reinstatement", USA Today Sports, June 22, 2015. [2]
  • Kostya Kennedy: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma, Sports Illustrated Books, New York, NY, 2014. ISBN 978-1618930965
  • Bob Nightengale: "All-Star Game gives Pete Rose brief return to spotlight", USA Today Sports, July 12, 2015. [3]
  • James Pitcher: "Pete Rose's investigator: Never let him back in baseball; James Dowd says holding firm on Rose's ban is the only way to protect the game from the corruption of money", USA Today, March 22, 2015. [4]
  • Pete Rose (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, June 1972, pp. 39-41. [5]
  • Pete Rose and Roger Kahn: Pete Rose: My Story, Macmillan, New York, NY, 1989. ISBN 978-0025606111
  • Pete Rose with Rick Hill: My Prison Without Bars, Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA, 2004. ISBN 978-0756785703
  • Michael Sokolove: Hustle: The Myth, Life, and Lies of Pete Rose, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1990. ISBN 978-0671695033

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