Dotson: Pete Rose, the one true hit-king?

From SABR member Chad Dotson at Cincinnati Magazine on August 26, 2014:

If you’ve been paying attention, you will know that we just passed the 25-year anniversary of [Pete] Rose’s banishment from baseball for offenses related to gambling. Now, I’m not going to make the case for or against Rose; it’s a complicated enough situation that I’ll leave that to others. Heck, I don’t even know where I stand on the issue anymore; every time you start to feel sympathy for Pete, he opens his mouth and says something dumb. But that guy sure could play some ball.

Others haven’t been as reticent as me to rehash the Rose saga. There has been yet another round of stories about Pete in recent days, largely covering the same tired old ground. Former Reds beat writer Jerry Crasnick had this excellent piece over at ESPN. Mike Schmidt says to let Pete into the Hall of Fame. Bud Selig is noncommittal. Even The Atlantic had a think piece on Rose.


I want to talk about Pete’s performance on the field. His actual performance, and not the myth that surrounds the player. For years, there was a consensus in Cincinnati: Pete Rose was the greatest hitter who ever lived. There are people throughout Reds Country who believe that to this day. Heck, when I was a kid, I thought the same thing. Obviously.

Look at the facts! Most hits of all time (4,256). He played in more winning games (1,972) than any professional athlete, in any sport. He was a winner! Charlie Hustle!

At the time Rose played, these were convincing arguments. But the times, they have changed. When I first became interested in sabermetric analysis, I was fascinated by the gap between the Rose I thought I knew and how Rose looked under the harsh lights of the advanced metrics. Given that we assess performance differently than they did in 1976, let’s look at how Rose actually stacks up against the greats in baseball history.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 26, 2014. Last Updated: August 26, 2014.