View Full Version : This day in Reds' history

09-11-2006, 11:27 PM
Can't believe no one has brought this up yet, with only about 30 minutes left in the day.

1985: Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds cracked career hit number 4,192 off Eric Show of the San Diego Padres, eclipsing the record held by Ty Cobb.

09-11-2006, 11:30 PM

By Dick Heller
September 11, 2006

On the balmy evening of Sept. 11, 1985, the crowd of 47,237 at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium stood in anticipation as the Reds' stocky leadoff hitter with the page boy haircut advanced to the plate in the first inning.
Typically, he pushed his batting helmet down on his head and went into an exaggerated crouch as he prepared to face Eric Show of the San Diego Padres. The count went to 2-1 before the switch hitter, batting left, swung at Show's fourth pitch, a slider.
The ball rocketed toward left-center, and on the Reds' radio broadcast, former pitcher Joe Nuxhall drowned out play-by-play man Marty Brennaman by screaming, "Get down! Get down!"
It did, and bedlam erupted. Pete Rose, the local boy turned baseball icon, had gotten career hit No. 4,192, breaking the record established by Ty Cobb in his final game exactly 57 years earlier.
Fireworks went off above the ballpark, and confetti drifted down. As Rose stood on first base, coach and close friend Tommy Helms was the first to congratulate him. First baseman Tony Perez lifted him in celebration. Reds owner Marge Schott kissed him as her celebratory gift, a red Corvette, was driven onto the field.
Then Rose's son, 15-year-old Pete Jr., emerged from the dugout dressed in a similar Reds uniform with No. 14 on the back and went over to embrace his father. On television, tears could be seen on the elder Rose's craggy face as the two clung. That wasn't the only generational aspect. Later Rose would tell Sports Illustrated, "Clearly in the sky, I saw my dad, Harry Francis Rose, and Ty Cobb. Cobb was in the second row. My dad was in the first."
After the game, Rose unabashedly discussed the emotion of the moment.
"At first, I wiped a few tears away, but then I couldn't control them," he said. "I'm glad Petey came out because I needed a crutch about then. ... When you're out there and you don't have anything to do, you start thinking about what has happened in your life and what led to everything. Obviously, my relationship with my father was foremost. ... I thought about the times when I was a little boy and he took me to Crosley Field [the Reds' previous ballpark]."
As the hoopla continued and grew over seven minutes, Show sat disconsolately on the mound -- an unwilling participant to baseball history. An unconventional sort who proudly proclaimed membership in the controversial John Birch Society, Show was a talented but luckless right-hander who finished his 11-year major league career in 1991 with a 101-89 record. Three years later, at age 37, he would be discovered dead from a drug overdose in California.
For Rose and his admirers, the record-breaking hit was one last cause for rejoicing. Fans around the nation had admired Pete throughout a brilliant 24-year career for his sheer love of the game and all-out play that earned him the nickname "Charlie Hustle." Physically unimposing, Rose seemed to epitomize a classic dream of American boyhood, that anyone could become a baseball star if only he cared and tried hard enough.
Oddly, Pete's big moment almost didn't happen at home. Three days earlier, Rose had gotten hits No. 4,190 and 4,191 in Chicago. He wasn't supposed to play in the series finale but changed his mind when the Cubs started a rookie right-hander. Rose singled in the first and fifth innings to tie Cobb's record but failed to hit safely in his final two at-bats. It seems surprising in retrospect that Rose would risk not getting the record-breaker at Riverfront -- but then again Pete always wanted to play every game.
Describing the Chicago series afterward, Rose tried a little humor. "I had 30,000 fans yelling there," he said, "and one lady [Schott] sitting back in Cincinnati kicking her dog every time I got a hit."
Fortunately, the baseball gods intervened. And when Rose did pass Cobb, the occasion provided perhaps the most joyous moment in Cincinnati's sporting history. Pete was well past his prime then at age 44. He finished the 1985 season batting .264 in 119 games, then retired to the dugout as the Reds' non-playing manager after hitting an embarrassing .219 in 72 games the following season. The greatest singles hitter ever batted .303 with a final collection of 4,256 hits for the Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos and Reds again.
When he packed it in -- with no retirement announcement -- Rose was still a huge hero in Cincinnati although the Reds never won a pennant in his five-plus seasons as manager. But three years later, disaster overtook him. On March 20, 1989, the office of commissioner Bart Giamatti revealed that it was investigating "serious allegations" involving Rose and gambling. On Aug. 24, Giamatti announced that Rose had accepted a lifetime ban from baseball. Later Rose served time in prison for tax evasion.
Commissioner Bud Selig, Giamatti's successor twice removed, has said he has no plans to reinstate Rose. Despite Pete's constant campaigning in the media, one of the game's true legends remains ineligible for a baseball job and the Hall of Fame, especially after he admitted in 2004 that he had indeed bet on baseball games.
Nowadays, Rose remains a pariah to the baseball establishment -- a man whose life has gone totally sour, and then some, since the euphoria that surrounded him 21 years ago today. And when Charlie Hustle turned into Charlie Hustler, it truly marked one of baseball's saddest episodes.

09-11-2006, 11:32 PM
I remember it very well. I was in college at the time and every guy in our fraternity house was jammed into the TV room watching it happen...even the Cleveland guys.

09-12-2006, 07:13 AM
I remember it very well. I was in college at the time and every guy in our fraternity house was jammed into the TV room watching it happen...even the Cleveland guys.

I was in college too. I watched it in the dorm lobby with many others. Great moment. One of the greatest sports moments I have ever watched. Thanks for article Sava. It was really good.

Always Red
09-12-2006, 08:46 AM
I wept.

09-12-2006, 08:55 AM
I wept.

I still tear up.