- Height: 5'11"
- Weight: 200 lbs.
- Date Of Birth: April 14, 1941
- Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
- College: None
- High School: Western Hills High School
- Position: Outfield, Third Base, Second Base, First Base
- Bats: Switch
- Throws: Right
Baseball today is a game primarily of power hitters. Now more than ever, fans love to see the long-ball. But there was a day when ballplayers just swung as hard as they could and if the ball went over the fence that was great, but they were perfectly happy with just getting a base hit. Pete Rose is the perfect example of that mentality.
Rose was born on April 14, 1941 in western Cincinnati, OH. He was encouraged at a young age to play sports by his father, who played semi-professional football. Rose played both baseball and football during his high school career at Western Hills, but made his biggest impression playing baseball. In fact, he was so good that he signed a contract straight out of high school with his hometown Cincinnati Reds in 1960.
Rose climbed quickly through the Reds’ minor league system and by 1963 he was the regular second baseman on the major league squad. He started his career strong by batting .273 for the year and winning National League Rookie of the Year. From the beginning, Rose was recognized for his hard work and competitiveness. Two of his signature moves were running to first base after being walked and sliding head-first into bases. All this led to Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford dubbing Rose with the nickname “Charlie Hustle.” The nickname not only fit, but it stuck with Rose for the rest of his career.
Rose struggled somewhat during the 1964 year, only batting .269, but he came back strong in 1965 when he batted .302 and led the majors with 209 hits. This would be the first of 15 seasons in which he would hit at least .300, and also the first of 10 seasons in which he would collect 200 or more hits. He won consecutive batting titles in 1968-69, with 1969 being perhaps the best season of his career. That year he had an incredible .348 batting average, tied a career high with 16 home runs, collected 218 hits, walked 88 times, hit 33 doubles, 11 triples, and established a career high with a .432 on base percentage (OBP).
Rose became a vital component of the “Big Red Machine” of the 1970s, considered by many to be one of the greatest baseball teams in history. During that time Rose and the Reds won four league championships and won back-to-back World Series titles in 1975-76. In 1973 Rose won the final of his three batting titles with a .338 average, led the league in hits with a career high 230 hits, and was named the National League MVP. In the 1975 season, Rose was named World Series MVP, Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year,” and Sporting News “Man of the Year.” In 1978 Rose collected his 3,000th career hit and put together an awesome 44-game hitting streak, tied for the second longest in Major League Baseball (MLB) history.
After becoming a free agent at the end of the 1978 season, Rose signed a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he won two pennants and played in one World Series. In 1984 he signed with and played part of the season with the Montreal Expos. During his brief stint with the Expos, Rose joined Ty Cobb as the only two players in history with 4,000 career hits. However, he returned to Cincinnati that year in the role player and manager of the Reds. The following year, 1985, Rose left his lasting mark on the world of baseball. On the evening of September 11, 1985, Rose surpassed Ty Cobb to become baseball’s all-time leader in hits with 4,192. He finished his 24-year career with the Reds in 1986 with a total of 4,256 career hits. His days with the Reds were not over though; he continued to manage the club through the 1988 season.
Despite being considered one of baseball’s greatest players, Rose is not a member of the Hall of Fame. This is due to the fact that Rose was accused of, and has since admitted to, betting on baseball while with the Reds. In 1989 Rose agreed to a permanent placement on baseball’s ineligible list. Due to this, the Reds have been unable to officially retire Rose’s #14 jersey number. However, the only player to wear the number since his retirement has been his son, Pete Rose, Jr., during a very brief stint with the Reds in 1997. In 1991, the Hall of Fame officially voted to exclude ineligible players from entering the Hall of Fame. Due to this, “Charlie Hustle,” the only living ineligible baseball player, has been excluded from baseball’s highest honor.
Career Highlights, Awards, and Accolades:
- MLB all-time hits leader with 4,256 hits.
- Ranks first all-time in games played with 3,562.
- Ranks first all-time in at bats with 14,053.
- Ranks first all-time in career total bases for a switch hitter: 5,752.
- Ranks second all-time with 746 career doubles.
- Tied for second longest hitting streak in MLB history: 44 games.
- Ranks fifth all-time in career runs scored with 2,165.
- NL Rookie of the Year in 1963.
- NL MVP in 1973.
- Selected to play in 17 All-Star games.
- Won three World Series: 1975-76 (Reds), and 1980 (Phillies).
- World Series MVP in 1975.
- Won two Gold Gloves as an outfielder: 1969-70.
- Won the Roberto Clemente Award in 1976.
- Led NL in batting three times: 1968-69, and 1973.
- Led NL in hits seven times: 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972-73, 1976, and 1981.
- Collected his 3,000th career hit on May 5, 1978.
- Collected his 4,000th career hit on April 13, 1984.
- Surpassed Ty Cobb with his 4,192 career hit on September 11, 1985.