Being an eight-year-old boy in the MIdwest in 1975, I remember liking food, girls, and baseball in no particular order. I liked food a little too much, thus found myself shopping in the husky-plus section in K-Mart while my Mom waited for the next blue light special. Girls, well, we all now how that works. That leaves baseball.
Big Red Machine
The Fall of 1975 was a magical time. I still remember sitting around our console TV with my Dad and Grandfather watching the Cincinnati Reds playing the Boston Red Sox in the World Series that year. I kept repeating over and over that my favorite players were Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, and Pete Rose. The Reds went on to win that World Series over Boston and Peter Edward Rose was named the series MVP. Not only did Pete win the MVP, but he won over this young fan.
How could you not like Pete? The dude played harder than anyone. Yeah, he rubbed some people the wrong way with his “Charlie Hustle” style of play, but if Pete put good wood on the ball and it found a gap, you could bet he would be diving head first into third base to leg out a triple. His style of play was a hit with the fans, especially in the blue-collar town of Cincinnati.
Stats Don’t Lie
Over his career, Pete would pile up a mountain of stats and records that still stand today, including:
- Most Career Hits 4,256
- Most Games Played 3,562
- Most AB’s 14,053
- Most Singles 3,315
- Most Total Bases Switch Hitter 5,752
- Most Season 200 or more hits 10
- Most Season 600 or more AB’s 17
- Most Season 150 or more games played 17
- Most Winning Games 1,972
*Stats courtesy of PeteRose.com
With a playing resume like this, Pete was a lock for the Hall of Fame, right? If it came down to stats alone, yes, Pete would have a bust in Cooperstown, but we all know the situation that Pete has put himself into. In my opinion, the “Hit King” should still be in the Hall of Fame for what he did ON the field. You cannot disagree that what Pete did between the lines is Hall-of-Fame worthy.
Gone Too Long
Pete has been away from the game for 26 years now. How long is enough for Pete to pay the price? I would argue that Pete has paid the price and then some and should be reinstated. If you look around the league at some of the woes of the game, Pete’s situation, to me, is no different. He deserves a second chance. A chance at redemption for his past. Americans are a forgiving bunch. I think it is time to forgive Pete. Baseball fans will never forget, but it is time for forgiveness and inclusion back into the baseball family.
Time for Hit King to Crack HOF
In my opinion Cooperstown is not complete without a bust of Pete Rose. Pete Rose WAS baseball for me growing up. He played the game hard and he played the game right. Hustle, hustle, hustle.Put an asterisk on his plaque if it makes you feel better, but the man’s stats do not lie.
No one in the history of the game has more hits than Pete, who has once again applied for reinstatement. Here’s hoping that Pete gets a hanging curve right down the middle and not a split finger down and away.