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.
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 200 lb.
- High School Western Hills High School (Cincinnati)
- Debut April 8, 1963
- Final Game August 17, 1986
- Born April 14, 1941 in Cincinnati, OH USA
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." In 1978, his fame took another leap forward because of two highly covered events: his joining the 3,000 hit club on May 5th, and his 44-game hitting streak, the longest since Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game streak, which took place in July and August. By the end of that year, he had become a household name throughout North America.
He holds the major league records for games (3,562), at bats (14,053), hits (4,256), and singles (3,215). He also has the most RBI of any player without a season of 100 or more (1,314, 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.
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 hometown 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 in 1980 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 his 4,000th 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, getting the record-breaking hit at home against Show in an event that received extensive and fawning media coverage at the time.
Rose was the last playing manager in major league history, with the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1986, being installed just after having been acquired in a mid-season trade with the Expos in 1984. 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 tarnish baseball's image seriously. The Commissioner's 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 reopen the suspension, but no one disputed the authenticity of the document, with some reporters calling it the "smoking gun" that had been missing all these years. Manfred ruled that the ban would not be lifted.
That year he also sued Dowd for libel, as Dowd had stated on the radio that he had evidence Rose had had sexual relations with underage girls during spring training in the 1970s, constituting statutory rape. When the case came to court in July of 2017, the defense introduced the testimony of a woman who swore to having such relations when she was just 14 or 15. Of course, Rose's lawyer dismissed her claims as unverified. For his part Rose admitted he had had a relationship with the woman, but only after she had turned 16, or just above the age of consent. Unstated was the fact that Rose was in his mid-30s and married with two kids at the time of the affair. The Phillies were planning to honor Rose by adding his name to their Wall of Fame in mid-August that year, but announced that they were cancelling the event as a result of the latest unpleasant revelations. A planned bobblehead promotion in his honor was also nixed. The suit was eventually dismissed through an out-of-court settlement in December of 2017. The terms of the settlement were not made public, except for the fact that it was with prejudice to Rose and his lawyers.
Rose 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. 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 some notable exceptions, such as 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. 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 official event 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 honor Rose directly 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. In early 2018, his former second wife, Carol, alleged in a court filing linked to their divorce settlement that Rose was using the entirety of this income, estimated around $1 million, on gambling and as a result had failed to pay court-ordered support. She added that he still had large unpaid debts to the IRS and to casinos.
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 . 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. That year, he also began working with Fox Sports on various shows, including as a pre-game analyst for the 2015 World Series.
In 2016, he was named to the Reds' Hall of Fame and his number 14 was retired by the team in June. This was done with Commissioner Rob Manfred's permission. In his inimitable fashion, right after the Reds' plans were announced in January, he starred in a televised advertisement for a sports betting application at that year's Super Bowl, further confirming that his addiction to gambling was as strong as it had ever been. Ironically, the week-long celebrations in Cincinnati came just after Ichiro Suzuki broke Pete's record for hits as a major leaguer (counting Ichiro's time in Nippon Pro Baseball). With his usual lack of class, Rose made the following comment on the feat: "I'm not trying to take anything away from Ichiro, he's had a Hall of Fame career, but the next thing you know, they'll be counting his high-school hits."
In June of 2017, the Reds erected a statue representing him outside Great American Ballpark; he is represented in a typical pose, sliding head-first into a base with his body in full flight, with only his outstretched hands connecting the sculpture to the ground, making for a spectacular tribute.
Following the revelation of the sign-stealing scandal by the 2017 Houston Astros after the 2019 season, Rose saw another opportunity to plead his case, claiming that what he had done was trivial compared to the current news-making scandal and that he should therefore be reinstated. His attorneys sent a petition to the Commissioner arguing that since no Astros player had been disciplined in that investigation, the fact he was still suffering punishment for his own trespasses was a case of a different set of rules being applied to him. Most commentators found his arguments ridiculous, starting with the fact that he had been a manager at the time of his own betting (and managers had suffered the wrath of the Commissioner in the sign-stealing scandal) and that he violated an explicit rule for which the punishment was well-known and been consistently applied over the years. He did find support from a bird of a feather, as President Donald Trump, fresh off his controversial acquittal by the Senate in his own impeachment case, tweeted his support for the lifting of the lifetime ban. A few months later, allegations surfaced that he had regularly used a corked bat as a player, as a former groundskeeper for the Expos revealed that Rose had struck a deal with the visitors' clubhouse equipment manager to work on his bats, something that had apparently gone on for years even before Rose briefly joined the Expos; similar allegations had previously been made, for example when someone took an x-ray of a bat he had used in 1985 and found that it had been tampered with.
In addition to being the all-time leader in games played, plate appearances, at-bats, hits and singles (as well as outs made), Pete Rose was also the leader in the more obscure category of reaching base on catcher's interference. He managed the feat 29 times during his long career; Jacoby Ellsbury passed him during the 2017 season.
"For reasons never quite explained, I have an unhealthy obsession with torturing Pete Rose." - WWE superstar Kane, August 2012
Rose has also appeared on several occasions with the wrestling promotion WWE, being inducted to their Hall of Fame in 2004 on the strength of routine beatings he suffered at the hands of the 'demonic' Kane. From 1998 to 2000, Rose was pummeled by the WWE's Big Red Machine at each installment of their biggest pay-per-view event, WrestleMania.
- 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)
|Johnny Bench||Pete Rose||Steve Garvey|
|NL Rookie of the Year|
|Ken Hubbs||Pete Rose||Dick Allen|
|Cincinnati Reds Manager
Year-By-Year Managerial Record
|1984||Cincinnati Reds||National League||19-22||5th||Cincinnati Reds||Replaced Vern Rapp (51-70) on August 16|
|1985||Cincinnati Reds||National League||89-72||2nd||Cincinnati Reds|
|1986||Cincinnati Reds||National League||86-76||2nd||Cincinnati Reds|
|1987||Cincinnati Reds||National League||84-78||2nd||Cincinnati Reds|
|1988||Cincinnati Reds||National League||75-59||2nd||Cincinnati Reds||interim by Tommy Helms (12-15) May 2-May 31|
|1989||Cincinnati Reds||National League||59-66||--||Cincinnati Reds||replaced by Tommy Helms on August 22|
|2014||Bridgeport Bluefish||Atlantic League||1-0||--||Independent Leagues||Interim for Willie Upshaw on June 16|
- 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)
Last player-manager in the major leagues (1986)
- 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. 
- Paul Daugherty: "Doc: Notebook closes door on Pete Rose reinstatement", USA Today Sports, June 22, 2015. 
- Richard Justice: "Ichiro's feat astounding, but Rose rules hit parade: With 4,256 hits in Majors, all-time grinder deserves renewed recognition", mlb.com, June 15, 2016. 
- Kostya Kennedy: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma, Sports Illustrated Books, New York, NY, 2014. ISBN 978-1618930965
- Carol Motsinger: "How to make Pete steal a base? Foam, fandom and flight dynamics", "Cincinnati.com", The Cincinnati Enquirer, June 17, 2017. 
- Bob Nightengale: "All-Star Game gives Pete Rose brief return to spotlight", USA Today Sports, July 12, 2015. 
- Bob Nightengale: "It's all over for Pete Rose; he's dead to MLB", USA Today Sports, December 15, 2015. 
- Bob Nightengale: "As Ichiro closes in, Pete Rose chafes: 'They're trying to make me the Hit Queen'", USA Today Sports, June 14, 2016. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Pete Rose is never going to be reinstated by MLB or get on Baseball Hall of Fame ballot", USA Today, February 5, 2020. 
- 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. 
- Joe Posnanski: "Remembering Rose's epic run at DiMaggio: All-time hits leader's 44-game streak in 1978 set NL record", mlb.com, August 2, 2018. 
- Pete Rose (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, June 1972, pp. 39-41. 
- 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
- Bill Schneider: "Pete Rose Gets His 4000th Major League Hit; April 13, 1984: Montreal Expos 5, Philadelphia Phillies 1 At Olympic Stadium", in Norm King, ed.: Au jeu/Play Ball: The 50 Greatest Games in the History of the Montreal Expos, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2016, pp. 74-75. ISBN 978-1-943816-15-6
- Michael Sokolove: Hustle: The Myth, Life, and Lies of Pete Rose, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1990. ISBN 978-0671695033