From SABR member C. Trent Rosecrans at Cincinnati.com on September 8, 2015, with mention of SABR members John Thorn and Pete Palmer:
Thirty years ago on Tuesday, Pete Rose became the all-time hit king.
Yes, we all remember him at Riverfront Stadium standing on first on Sept. 11, 1985, celebrating hit No. 4,192, breaking Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record. Or so the story goes.
Because record keeping in baseball in the early part of the 20th century wasn’t up to today’s standards, the American League erroneously double-counted a two-hit game by Cobb in 1910. So in actuality, Cobb finished with 4,189 hits, not the familiar number of 4,191. Major League Baseball still recognizes the 4,191 number, even though it’s widely acknowledged to be inaccurate.
That also means Rose actually passed Cobb on Sept. 8, 1985, in a tie game at Wrigley Field. Rose, the Reds’ player-manager, batted second that Sunday at Wrigley and went 2-for-5, with a pair of singles. The story that day was that he tied Cobb with fifth-inning single off of Reggie Patterson and then grounded out and struck out in his final two plate appearances with the opportunity to top Cobb before the game was suspended because of darkness (lights wouldn’t come to Wrigley Field for three more years).
Originally published: September 9, 2015. Last Updated: September 9, 2015.