| In the
1960s Pete Rose was a brash rookie who turned the derisive nickname
Charlie Hustle into a badge of honor. In the 1970s he won World Series
titles, an MVP, and challenged the greatest streak in baseball history.
In the 1980s he became the most prolific hitter in history, managed
his hometown team, and was banished from baseball for his indiscretions.
In the 1990s and into the early 2000s, Rose pleaded his innocence
and then recanted, admitting his guilt, hoping to get back into the
game. Through it all Pete Rose maintained his station at the top of
baseball headlines. He defined his era.
was Whitey Ford who reportedly dubbed Rose, "Charlie Hustle"
in a spring training game in 1963, after watching Pete run to first
on a walk.
Cincinnati Reds (1963-1978, 1984-1986),
Philadelphia Phillies (1979-1983),
Montreal Expos (1984)
Cincinnati Reds (1984-1989)
1970 NLCS, 1970 World Series, 1972 NLCS, 1972 World Series, 1973 NLCS,
1975 NLCS, 1975 World Series, 1976 NLCS, 1976 World Series, 1980 NLCS,
1980 World Series, 1981 NLDS, 1983 NLCS, 1983 World Series
None. Rose led the Reds to four straight second-place finishes (1985-1988).
Yes, 1975 and 1976 Reds, and 1980 Philadelphia Phillies.
All-Star (18): 1965, 1967-1971, 1973-1982, 1985; National League Most
Valuable Player 1973; Rookie of the Year 1963
Rose played at least 600 games at four different positions. He played
1,327 games in the outfield (50% in left field, 45% in RF, and 5%
in CF); 939 games at first, mostly in his later years; 634 at third
base; and 628 at second base, where he started. Like Paul Molitor
after him, Rose moved to help his team, whenever they asked him to.
As player/manager, he used himself at 1B and as a pinch-hitter.
Major League Debut: April 8, 1963
Rose holds the all-time major league record for most hits (4,256)
and games played (3,562), both marks previously belonging to Ty Cobb.
He claims to hold the record for playing in the most winning games,
as well. And it is doubtful anyone can challenge him. His teams won
at a consistent pace and he was a regular on eight first-place teams.
the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year award with the Cincinnati Reds, his
hometown team. Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford was the first to call
him “Charlie Hustle” after seeing the cocky rookie run
to first base on a walk. Rose ignored the “insult” and
turned the name into an asset. He never did anything less than 100%
in his long career.
When he first
arrived in the big leagues with Cincinnati in 1963, the Reds clubhouse
was divided along racial lines. The white ballplayers resented the
scrawny Rose who was out to steal the second base job from Don Blasingame.
The black ballplayers, led by Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson, took
Rose in and adopted him as their own. After Robinson’s trade
to the Orioles following the 1965 season, Rose was the undisputed
The late 1960s
saw the arrival of Tony Perez and Johnny Bench, two key members
of the great Reds teams to come. Rose won his first batting title
in 1968, and followed it up with another in 1969, narrowly edging
Roberto Clemente. Rose secured the title with a bunt single in his
final at-bat. In 1970 he and the Reds won the NL West and advanced
to the World Series. It was the first of many trips to the Fall
Classic for Pete. The Reds won titles in 1975 and 1976, and Rose
later earned a ring with the Phillies in 1980. Rose played in 34
World Series games in his career, batting .269 with 12 runs scored,
two home runs, and nine RBI.
After nearly 23 seasons, the tenacious Pete Rose was on the brink.
It was September 11, 1985, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Rose had been born
and raised in Cincinnati. He debuted with the Reds in 1963 and played
for the team for 16 years, winning two World Series and playing in
two more. With the Phillies he won another Series in 1980 and played
in another in '83. After a brief stint in Montreal, where he never
seemed to belong, Pete was back in Cincy in '84.
with excitement at coming home, Rose batted .365 for the Reds over
the last month of the '84 season. He was less than 100 hits away
from immortality. Only Ty Cobb was ahead of him on the All-Time
list. A record that no one had thought could be challenged, was
on the verge of being broken.
Rose was the
player/manager for the Reds in '85 and he inserted himself in the
lineup as much as he could. His skills had faded, but as his closing
push showed in '84, he could still stroke it on occasion.
drew on Rose closed in. Finally, on September 11 against the Padres
in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium in front of a packed crowd, Pete
was just one hit away from passing The Georgia Peach. The Padres
Eric Show served up a fastball and Rose drove it into center field
- a solid single. As he had thousands of time before, he charged
around the first base bag, looking to stretch it to a double. But
a single was enough. San Diego Padres
first baseman Steve Garvey was the first to congratulate Rose. Soon
his teammates, son, and former teammates, were on the field with
It was a night
to remember. A night that Cincinnati was glad to have.
Rose had his best offensive season in '69, leading the league in
batting for the second straight season (.348). He also paced the
circuit in runs with 120. As the team's leadoff man he was a catalyst,
rapping 218 hits and walking 88 times. He hit 33 doubles, 11 triples,
and a career-best 16 homers. He drove in 82 runs, slugged .512 (by
far the highest of his long career), and had a .432 OBP (also a
career-best). The Reds finished just four games out of first, and
Pete lost the MVP to Willie McCovey.
44 games (1978), 25 games (1967), 23 games (1979), 22 games (1968
and 1975), 21 games (1982), 20 games (1977 twice), 19 games (1968),
17 games (1965 and 1981), 15 games (1966 and 1971).