Even during Spring Training, full throttle was the only way Pete Rose played the game of baseball.
During a meaningless pre-season game, New York Yankees’ skipper Whitey Ford gave Rose the Charlie Hustle nickname when the Cincinnati Red bolted to first base after drawing a base on balls.
Playing with a “pedal to the metal” attitude every time he took to the diamond, Pete Rose lived up to his Charlie Hustle nickname. He remains one of baseball’s most famous players, even though he agreed to be banned from the game in 1987 after betting on baseball.
Because of his epic on-field baseball successes, Rose would have been a certain first ballot Hall of Famer. Surprisingly, his first minor league manager didn’t think very highly of his talent.
According to Daven Hiskey, writing for www.todayifoundout.com, Pete Rose’s first manager in the minor leagues once told the Reds that, “Rose can’t make a double play, can’t throw, can’t hit left handed, and can’t run.” But, Charlie Hustle proved him wrong. He eventually became one of baseball’s all-time greats and was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team.
Pete Rose NOT Ichiro Suzuki MLB Hits Leader
When he retired as a player in 1986, Charlie Hustle set numerous Major League Baseball records. In addition to being the game’s all-time leader with 4,256 hits, 3,562 games played and 14,053 at bats, Rose won more games than any other player in history – 1,972.
Though Miami Marlins’ Ichiro Suzuki surpassed Pete Rose’s overall baseball total by notching 4,257 hits, many baseball purists believe Rose is still the true Hit King. That’s because Ichiro collected 1,278 hits while playing professionally in Japan before joining the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.
Ironically, Rose created some controversy by commenting on Ichiro Suzuki breaking his record, “Next they’ll be counting high school hits.” Whoa, Charlie Hustle, them’s fightin’ words!
In 24 Major League Baseball seasons, Rose set records with 23 consecutive 100+ hit seasons and 10 straight seasons with 200 or more hits. Charlie Hustle ended his career as the most accomplished switch hitter ever, with 2,156 runs scored, 746 doubles, 5,752 total bases and 1,566 walks.
One of the best players in Major League Baseball history, Rose won three World Series titles with the Reds. He also won nearly every imaginable individual award: National League Rookie of the Year (1963), National League Most Valuable Player (1973), World Series MVP (1975), two Gold Gloves (1969 and 1970), three National League batting titles (1968, 1969 and 1973) and 17 all-star appearances.
Whether you think he deserves to be inducted into Cooperstown or not because of his well documented gambling history, let’s just agree on one thing. Pete Rose proved to the doubters who mocked him that he possessed a lot more than grit whenever he laced up his baseball cleats.
When given the chance, Charlie Hustle bolted out of the batter’s box and sprinted his way into baseball’s record book as Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader and one of the sport’s greatest players ever.
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