Wednesday, January 7, 2015

There was a time when September 11 used to be remembered for something else because that was the date baseball legend Pete Rose, 30 years ago set the all-time,   Major League Hit Leader of 419, a record that still stands today despite the era of all those juiced up players who also had good numbers. His sin on baseball that still keeps him out of The Hall of Fame is gambling on games. Yet, as we   speak there are managers of those juiced up players like Barry Bonds being inducted into the hall for great numbers during their coaching years, the same years that the juicing was going on.  Nothing makes sense anymore.

In his home town of Cincinnati he is still loved by all. He still goes to opening day just like he did as a child.  He grew up 5 miles from the stadium often skipping school to go to a game.  In high school he was a better football player than baseball player.  He was lucky in that he had an uncle who was a scout for the Reds.  He got the job and played with more enthusiasm than any other player that he got the nickname Charlie Hustle. He won games but did not win friends in the clubhouse. They resented a hometown kid getting so much popularity and playing harder than necessary. His upbringing was on the outskirts of the Ohio River where he worked on ferry boats.

Now there are diamonds named after him and even the main stadium is located on a street called Pete Rose Way. He slaps himself to see if he is still alive. Usually they don’t name streets after you till you are dead yet he seems to still be dead to the Hall of Fame. He helped Cincinnati win 2 World Series Championships and a third with The Phillie's. In addition to being Baseball’s   all- time hits leader, Rose also holds the record for the   most career at bat with 14,053. The most singles in his career at 3,215. Even the most games ever played.

He proved that you can’t teach enthusiasm and he had it throughout his career.  Now at 73 years old he is still nowhere nearer to The Hall of Fame but you can find him signing autographs at The Art of Music in Las Vegas a memorabilia shop in the Mandalay Bay Resort.  He is engaged to a young Playboy Model on the way to his third marriage.  Now it seems that he is more popular for not being in the Hall of Fame.  He is still asked to endorse products from Pizza to athletic ware. Many don’t feel sorry for Pete because he not only bet on baseball, he bet on his own team. Pete never offered an apology and for 15 long years he denied it all. Every year while other players go to Cooperstown to be inducted into the Hall, Pete goes to town too creating his own lines for autographs and at times it is the longest line in town.

There are few men these days that say or mean they are sorry for anything these days. It is what it is.

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