Rose, Pete 1941–
Rose, Pete 1941–
(Charlie Hustle, Peter Edward Rose)
PERSONAL: Born April 14, 1941, in Cincinnati, OH; son of Harry Francis (a banker) and LaVerne Rose; married Karolyn Ann Engelhardt, January 25, 1964 (divorced, 1979); married Carol Woliung, 1979; children: (first marriage) Pete Jr., Fawn; (second marriage) Tyler, Cara. Education: High school graduate.
ADDRESSES: Office—Pete Rose Ballpark Cafe, 1601 N. Congress Ave., Boynton Beach, FL 33426.
CAREER: Baseball player, radio talk-show host in Florida, and writer. Professional baseball player, 1960–86; player-manager of the Cincinnati Reds, 1984–89. Signed with the Cincinnati Reds, 1960, made the majors in 1963; moved to the Philadelphia Phillies, 1979, to the Montreal Expos, 1984, and back to the Reds, 1984.
AWARDS, HONORS: Named to the Major League Baseball All-Star Team, 1965, 1967–71, and 1973–82; Sportsman of the Year, Sports Illustrated, 1975; holds major league all-time records for most career hits (4,256), most games played, most singles, most 200-hit seasons (10), most consecutive 100-hit seasons (23), highest fielding percentage by an outfielder, most positions played, most doubles in the National League (746), and longest hitting streak in the National League (44 games).
(With Bob Hertzel) Charlie Hustle, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1975.
(With Hertzel) Pete Rose's Winning Baseball, H. Regnery Co. (Chicago, IL), 1976.
The Official Pete Rose Scrapbook, New American Library (New York, NY), 1978, revised and updated edition, 1985.
Pete Rose: My Life in Baseball, Doubleday (Garden City, NJ), 1979.
(With Hal Bodley) Countdown to Cobb: My Diary of the Record-Breaking 1985 Season, Sporting News (St. Louis, MO), 1985.
(With Peter Golenbock) Pete Rose on Hitting: How to Hit Better than Anybody, Perigee Books (New York, NY), 1985.
(With Roger Kahn) Pete Rose: My Story, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1989.
(With Rick Hill) Pete Rose: My Prison without Bars, Rodale (Emmaus, PA), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: There was, perhaps, no greater baseball player in the second half of the twentieth century than Pete Rose. His achievements on the field are overshadowed only by the off-the-field controversies that have plagued Rose since the late 1980s, when he was banned from baseball for life for allegedly betting on the sport to which he owes his success. "Pete Rose was the consummate ballplayer of our era—not necessarily the best, or the most valuable, though those cases can be made—but the one who played most intensely, whose very existence seemed to depend on the game," Elliott J. Gorn wrote in the Nation. "But while Rose's combative personality, his aggressiveness and machismo, were perfect for baseball, they were also bound to get him in trouble."
Born April 14, 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rose was the third of four children born to his father Harry, a former semi-pro baseball and football player who encouraged his son's athletic endeavors. Rose weighed only 140 pounds when he graduated from Western Hills High School, where he was a better football than baseball player. His uncle, Buddy Bloebaum, was a scout for the Cincinnati Reds and convinced the team to take a chance on the hometown boy. They did, drafting Rose as an infielder and sending him to play minor league ball in Geneva, New York, in 1960.
The time he spent in Geneva was short—only two years—but invaluable as Rose spent the time honing his skills and bulking up. In 1963 a 200-pound Rose started at second base for the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .273 and earning National League Rookie of the Year honors. As baseball analysts would note over the next few years, it was not Rose's natural ability that made him a superb baseball player, it was his drive and enthusiasm. Legendary New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford dubbed Rose "Charlie Hustle," a name originally intended to be derisive, but one that Rose adopted with pride.
Rose's trademark spirit will probably best be remembered by the winning run he scored in the 1970 All-Star Game by unapologetically barreling into catcher Ray Fosse, injuring Fosse's shoulder in the process. Aside from the flashiness of such plays, Rose showed hustle in everything he did, from running to first base after being walked to diving for infield grounders that were far beyond his reach.
After seventeen years with the Cincinnati Reds, during which time he won many awards and set several records, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1978 season. He left Philadelphia for the Montreal Expos in 1984, and after getting his 4,000th career hit as an Expo, returned to the Cincinnati Reds to become player-manager in August 1984. On September 11, 1985, Rose hit a single to bring his major-league hit total to 4,192, breaking Ty Cobb's long-lasting record for most career hits. Rose continued to play and manage the Reds through the 1986 season.
In the late 1980s, allegations surfaced that Rose had lost a great deal of money gambling on sports. To make matters worse, some of the alleged betting was on Major League Baseball, some even involving the Reds while Rose was managing them. Lawyer John Dowd investigated these claims for baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, eventually concluding that among other things, Rose bet on 52 Reds' games in 1987. On August 24, 1989, Giamatti and Rose agreed to Rose being banned from baseball for life, with the provision that his banishment would be reexamined in one year. Despite pleas from Rose and his fans, "Charlie Hustle" has yet to be reinstated in baseball. After serving five months for federal tax evasion in 1990, Rose became a sports radio talk-show host in Florida.
Rose has written several books about his life and times in baseball, and about the allegations surrounding his gambling. His first two autobiographies, The Pete Rose Story: An Autobiography and Pete Rose: My Life in Baseball were published in the 1970s. Pete Rose: My Story was published shortly after the gambling allegations were made, but those allegations were not the focus of the book. Instead, Rose discusses his experiences of visiting wounded soldiers in Vietnam on a morale-boosting tour, his devotion to his father, and the high points of his career. "We get a lot of information here," Gorn noted, "and plenty of opportunity to remember great events of the past." Not until 2004's Pete Rose: My Prison without Bars did Rose admit that he did indeed bet on games in which he was managing. Despite the fact that Rose had been away from baseball for fifteen years when the book was released, it nevertheless became a best-seller, as sports fans still remembered Rose and remained interested in his saga. Many reviewers saw in the book Rose's hope that if he admitted to his guilt and showed remorse that he would be reinstated in Major League Baseball's good graces, allowing him to return to managing and to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. As it turned out Rose was not reinstated, much to his chagrin. "I've come clean," he told a U.S. News & World Report interviewer. "I was a bad guy when I played. I had to be. I'm not now. I'm a good guy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Decades, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Celebrity Register, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1990.
Rose, Pete, The Pete Rose Story: An Autobiography, World (New York, NY), 1970.
Rose, Pete, Pete Rose: My Life in Baseball, Doubleday (Garden City, NJ), 1979.
Rose, Pete, and Hal Bodley, Countdown to Cobb: My Diary of the Record-Breaking 1985 Season, Sporting News (St. Louis, MO), 1985.
Rose, Pete, and Roger Kahn, Pete Rose: My Story, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1989.
Rose, Pete, and Rick Hill, Pete Rose: My Prison without Bars, Rodale (Emmaus, PA), 2004.
Booklist, February 1, 2004, Brad Hooper, review of Pete Rose: My Prison without Bars, p. 930.
Books & Culture, July-August, 2004, Bruce Kuklick, "The Search for Redemption: Confession without Remorse," p. 36.
Nation, January 22, 1990, Elliot J. Gorn, review of Pete Rose: My Story, p. 93.
People, June 3, 1985, Ralph Novak, review of Pete Rose on Hitting, p. 16.
U.S. News & World Report, February 2, 2004, interview with Rose, p. 52.