From SABR member Joe Posnanski at NBC Sports on December 22, 2015, with mention of SABR member Pete Palmer:
With Pete Rose back in the news, it’s a good time for a simple trivia question. Who was pitching when Pete Rose cracked the hit that broke Ty Cobb’s all-time record?
That’s too simple, right? Everyone knows it was Eric Show of the San Diego Padres. That’s one of the most famous videos in baseball history. Show pitched, and Rose lashed that singled to left-center on September 11, 1985. Heck, it’s the third sentence of Show’s Wikipedia page. Show was a brilliant, interesting and tortured soul who studied physics in college, played jazz guitar, was a member of the John Birch society* and died of a drug overdose when he was just 37 years old.
*Graig Nettles joked that after Rose got the hit, Show would get booted from the John Birch Society because he had made a Red famous.
Show loathed being the pitcher who gave up the big hit. He angrily crossed his arms that day as Rose celebrated the hit. Rose played it to the hilt — he hugged his son, and then he looked up to the heavens and, as he said, saw the driving force of his life, his father Harry, standing above the clouds with Ty Cobb himself.
“Regardless of what you may think,” Rose said, “Cobb is up there.”
Show looked furious and frustrated as the celebration dragged on. He sat on the mound — “bush league,” Show’s teammate Garry Tempteon said of Show’s churlishness — and a bit later in the game, Show got into a near-fight with teammate Carmelo Martinez after a hit dropped in. Show did not answer questions after the game. Later, he said of Rose’s hit, “I don’t care.”
Like I say, he loathed being that pitcher.
Here’s the craziest part of all: He wasn’t.
No, Eric Show was not the pitcher who gave up the hit that broke Ty Cobb’s record. The baseball that wrote its own story in Sports Illustrated the following week (“I was so excited I was nearly bursting at the seams”) was not the record-breaking ball. That magical number of 4,192 that Pete Rose spent a lifetime of hustle and muscle chasing was not magical at all.
And the titans of baseball knew it all along.
Read the full article here: http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/set-the-record-straight/
- Related link: “Not Chiseled in Stone: Baseball’s Enduring Records and the SABR Era,” by Gary Gillette and Lyle Spatz (Fall 2011 Baseball Research Journal)
Originally published: December 22, 2015. Last Updated: December 22, 2015.