Pete Rose: The Undeniable Truth
Thousands upon thousands of men have been scouted, drafted, played, and even managed in Major League Baseball. Yet, a name, synonymous with numerous records, is mostly associated with controversy. Enter Peter Edward “Pete” Rose Sr. Pete Rose grew up in a middle class family, struggled as a student, and then eventually excelled as a baseball player/manager. Even though Pete Rose lived for the sport and broke so many records during his professional career, it was his off-the-field behavior which led to his being banished from baseball and probably the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Born on the morning of April 14, 1941 to Harry and LaVerne Rose, Pete was given a pretty typical war-time upbringing of hard work and dysfunction. He was the oldest of four children and spent most of his childhood in Anderson Ferry, Ohio (Rose and Kahn 40-43). “There’s only one person [who’s] really influenced me, and that was my dad,” Pete said (qtd. in Rose and Kahn 44). Harry Rose died a sudden, unexpected death on December 9, 1970 at the age of 58. The family basically lost the stitching of their relationship when Harry died. Pete’s brother and sisters weren’t as close as they were when their dad was alive, and LaVerne eventually remarried. “There’s nothing wrong with crying when there’s something to cry about and when Dad died so sudden[ly], I [must have] cried for three days.”(qtd. in Rose and Kahn 45)
As he grew up, all Pete cared about was sports. Sports affected Pete to the point where he performed poorly in school. He may have not been the most intelligent person in the class, but sports played a hand in diverting his attention in a different way. Pete’s performance in ninth grade was so bad, his teacher sought him to attend summer school. Harry Rose held him out of summer school; he said that he would rather Pete repeat a year of school than missing out on a summer of baseball (Reston, Jr. 37). Since his studies were so poor, Pete also was banned from his high school baseball team via academic reasons. Instead he joined an amateur baseball club in Dayton, Ohio and batted .500 against grown men. By the time Pete graduated in 1960, the Cincinnati Reds offered him a $7,000 contract, with an additional $500 if he made it and stayed with the team for a full year (Reston, Jr. 42).
In 1961, Rose was promoted from a rookie league to Class D Tampa Tarpons. There he batted for an average of .331 and set a league record for most triples, but unfortunately he also led the league in fielding errors. Later in his minor league career, he was moved up to Class A Macon, where he batted .330 and led the league in triples and runs scored (Reston, Jr. 44). During a Spring Training game in 1963 against the Chicago White Sox, Rose got his chance and made the best of it. Second baseman, Don Blasingame pulled his groin muscle, and Rose was put into the game as his replacement. During another spring game, is when he received his nickname “Charlie Hustle.” After Pete was issued a walk, where a batter gets four called balls in the same at bat, Rose abnormally sprinted to first base. New York Yankee player Whitey Ford gave him the nickname “Charlie Hustle” in a mocking manner. Maybe for that same reason, Rose adopted the nickname and used it as a badge of honor.
Pete Rose made his Major League debut on opening day on April 8, 1963. Rose was held hitless for the first couple of games until April 13. Against the Pittsburgh Pirates and pitcher Bob Friend, Rose collected his first Major League hit, and it was a triple. Fitting as it was a type of hit he was used to as he broke records of that sort in the Minor Leagues. In 1965, Rose led the league in hits (209) and at-bats (670), and batted .302, the first of his 10 seasons with 200-plus hits and the first of 15 consecutive .300 seasons (Sports Reference, Inc). He hit a career-high 16 home runs in 1966, and then switched positions from second base to right...
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