The Day Pete Rose Became the Hit King

On this day in baseball history, September 11, 1985, 31 years ago, the star of the Cincinnati Reds, Pete Rose, entered the day tied with Ty Cobb for most career hits.

On September 8, Rose tied the record at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Of course, it’s stated that Rose actually broke the record that day because while Cobb was playing, he was erroneously attributed two hits rather than one in a 1910 game.

The Reds were playing the San Diego Padres in a night game at Riverfront Stadium in front of 47,237 fans. It didn’t take long for Rose to break the record. Rose walked to the plate in front of a standing ovation, and then readied to take the first pitch from Padres pitcher Eric Show. Rose fouls a pitch off, and then takes two. Then, on a 2-1 pitch, Rose hits a liner to left-center field for a single, cementing himself as the all time hit king. Hit number 4,192. The packed crowd erupted in a stadium along the Ohio River that is listed as only being able to hold a shade over 40,000 fans. Charlie Hustle had just hit himself into the record books.

Certainly, it looked like Rose was destined for the Hall of Fame. That is, until he was under investigation in 1989 for gambling, purportedly against the Reds while managing them. Later in 1989, Rose voluntarily accepted placement on the baseball permanently banned list. While that is, indeed, a story for another time, Rose still sits on the ineligible list.

Pete Rose finished his career with a .303 batting average over his 26 year career, a .375 OBP, .409 SLG, .784 OPS, an OPS+ of 118, 4,256 hits, and 1,314 RBI. Rose tallied the most games played (3,562), the most plate appearances and at-bats (15,890, 14,053), and, of course, the most hits.

Whether or not Rose should be inducted in the Hall of Fame is up to you, but whatever the case may be, there’s no denying that he was one of the best hitters and hardest working players in the game’s illustrious history.

Video of Rose’s record breaking hit:

(video courtesy of WCPO.com/9 on your side)

Source(s): Baseball-Reference, National Pastime, History Channel, MLB.com

Photo: Baseball Hall of Fame

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