Peter E. Rose
Pete Rose walking onto the field in the mid-1970s. Image by jvh33 of Flickr, from a 35mm slide.
Peter (Pete) Edward Rose, Sr., was born on April 14, 1941, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He spent most of his youth in Anderson Ferry, Ohio, where he excelled at baseball. Poor grades, however, prevented him from playing on his high school team most of the time, so Rose played baseball with a local amateur club. Upon Rose graduating from high school, the Cincinnati Reds offered him seven thousand dollars to play in the minor leagues.
Rose quickly advanced through the minor leagues, playing for several different teams. In 1963, he won a spot on the Cincinnati Reds, playing second base. He became known for his hard work, earning the nickname "Charlie Hustle" from Whitey Ford, when Rose ran to first base after being walked. Rose prospered his first year in Major League Baseball (MLB), batting .273 and winning the National League Rookie of the Year award.
During the remainder of the 1960s and the 1970s, the Cincinnati Reds usually finished near the top of the league. Rose won three batting titles during this period (1968, 1969, and 1973). In 1973, Rose was named MLB's Most Valuable Player. He also was the youngest player to attain three thousand hits, a feat that he accomplished on May 5, 1978. That same year, Rose hit in forty-four consecutive games. In 1975, Rose helped the Reds win the World Series, and Sports Illustrated named him Sportsmen of the Year. The Reds attained another World Series victory in 1976. They were the first and only team to go undefeated in the playoffs since the number of games increased in 1969.
Rose's initial career with the Reds ended in 1979, when he signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Rose helped the Phillies win the World Series in 1980. In 1984, he signed a one year contract with the Montreal Expos, but the team traded him to the Cincinnati Reds before the season was over. Upon returning to the Reds, Rose served as the team's manager, while he continued to play baseball. On September 11, 1985, Rose became the all-time hit leader in Major League Baseball. He retired from the game as a player in 1986, although he continued to manage the Reds for the next three years.
Upon retiring as a player, Rose had earned several records that no other MLB has since broken. He remains the career hits leader with 4,256 hits. He also has more at bats (14,053) than any other player and has played in more games (3,562) than any other player. He also holds the record for the most years played in MLB and the most consecutive years played in MLB, not to mention several additional records. He also played in eighteen All Star Games.
In 1989, Major League Baseball accused Rose of betting on Reds games while he was a player and manager. Rose denied the allegations, but in 1989, he agreed to accept a lifetime ban from professional baseball, ending his career as manager for the Reds. In 1990, the federal government prosecuted Rose for income tax evasion. A judge found Rose guilty and sentenced him to five months in prison, three months in a halfway house, one thousand hours of community service, and a fine of fifty thousand dollars. Rose also had to pay back taxes, interest, and penalties, which combined exceeded 350,000 dollars.
In 1997, Rose applied for reinstatement to MLB. Bud Selig, MLB's commissioner has yet to rule on Rose's request. In 2004, Rose admitted to betting on Reds games, but he claimed that he never bet against the team. In recent years, Rose has participated in professional wrestling, usually at WrestleMania, and is an inductee to the WWE Hall of Fame.