Appel: Pete Rose: part of the conversation

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on October 6, 2016:

Pete Rose is as proud of his hit record as you would expect him to be—it defines him—but he also takes enormous pride in a lesser known record: most winning games played in. That’s quite a feat in itself.

There is another record of sorts that probably belongs to him as well. He’s been “part of the conversation” in baseball circles since 1963—53 years now where he remains top of mind. Connie Mack, who managed the Athletics for 50 years, was close, but the conversations today are more universal, what with social media, television, sports talk radio, and so forth.

Back in 1963, when he was Rookie of the Year, Rose was a contemporary of almost every great star of the ’50s, save for Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson. Whitey Ford first called him “Charlie Hustle” when he saw Rose running full speed to first on walks during spring training games. Rose broke in when games were still played in the Polo Grounds, in Crosley Field, in Shibe Park (then called Connie Mack Stadium), and in Sportsman’s Park (then called Busch Stadium).

I have the pleasure of speaking to college classes from time to time, and I quickly learned that with today’s college students, if my story predates Derek Jeter, then I have a lot of blank stares looking up at me. They know little of Williams and Cobb, Seaver and Fisk (a recent question: who came first, Mantle or Gehrig?), but they all know about Pete Rose.

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Originally published: October 6, 2016. Last Updated: October 6, 2016.