Catching Up with Pete Rose

In Philadelphia Phillies on June 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

While on our 30th anniversary vacation trip to Las Vegas my wife and I were site seeing through one of the many casinos. As we walked through the mammoth and beautiful Caesars Palace, and its many stores, we saw a store named “Antiquities”. “Antiquities” is a store full of memorabilia of all types. Below the entrance was a large white sign with red lettering that simply said “PETE ROSE HERE”. We decided to walk in and sure enough, about 20 feet inside the store there was the incomparable, how is this possible, 71-year old, Peter Edward Rose. Pete was set up at a table to sign autographs for any takers. If you were interested you were directed to the back of the store where you could purchase Phillies and Reds jerseys, bats, balls, pictures, cards and framing. They also ship anywhere and will provide certificates of authenticity for the items. Each comes at a price. Each purchase also provided you the opportunity to sit with Pete and have your picture taken and talk with him. The workers take your camera and shoot pictures the entire time he’s signing your items so you get about a dozen pictures. The business is a well oiled machine.

 My wife decided that I needed to have the Phillies jersey, which also came with the signed bat, as a Father’s Day present. SHE’S A GREAT WIFE!!! Of course I decided I wanted the Phillies jersey instead of the Reds jersey that had many statistics embroidered in it. I asked if I needed to tell him what to sign and I was told “Pete knows how to hit and Pete knows how to sign”. When they hand you your jersey and bat they are in wrappers that Pete opens for you at the table. The purpose is to keep the item from being damaged in any way. (They’ve pretty much thought of everything). As I walked up the table and sat down the first thing Pete said was, “how are you doing? It’s a great day.” He asked if I wanted the bat personalized to anyone, which I said “no.” He then signed his name, added Hit King and 4256 on the bat. While he was signing we started talking Phillies baseball. Pete is still a huge baseball fan and a huge Phillies fan. We talked about the present state of affairs with the Phils. Like most of the rest of us, he feels the same way we do, Pete stated “until (Jimmy) Rollins and (Shane) Victorino stop thinking they’re power hitters and start hitting for average, and getting on base, the team will struggle.” I think we’ve heard that before!! He also stated, “they should’ve never paid (Ryan) Howard the money they paid him. He struggles in the playoffs because he sees good pitching every game, in the meantime, he’ll hit 40 fastballs out of the park in the regular season.” Spoken like a true Phillies fan. It was very clear that Pete has been paying a lot of attention. All the while, Pete was signing my Limited Edition Phillies jersey. He signed his name with 1980 World Series Champs, “Charlie Hustle” and 4256 on one side and Hit #3631, NL Record, 8/10/81 on the other side. By the way, this is the only place that Pete will sign “Charlie Hustle”. Don’t expect it at a memorabilia show. We bantered back and forth about Pete’s upcoming trip to sign autographs in Philadelphia this weekend, but first there was a trip to Cincinnati to watch the Reds against the Indians, then off to Philly and back to Vegas on Saturday evening. Pete is a busy man trying to stay involved in the game he loves while making money doing it. When everything was signed and the conversation ended Pete puts out his hand and offers a good handshake for the camera.


With all of the signing complete you proceed to the final step of the journey. You go back to the desk where you placed your order and turn over any item that you want shipped. I kept the jersey with me and shipped the bat. They added a signed baseball card as part of the deal. The bat arrived at the house before I did in perfect condition.


As I left I said to Pete, “I’ll see you Saturday in Philly” and he said, “Great, I’ll be looking for you.”


I have to say, even at my age, I was pretty excited to have had the opportunity to sit with the All Time Hit King in a one-on-one situation, even if it was for only 10 minutes and it came at a small price. After all, this was the guy that took the 1980 Phillies over the top. The Phillies would’ve never won that World Series if it wasn’t for Pete Rose.

 It has been a long time since I looked at the amazing numbers Pete put up as a player during his career. Here is a quick summary:

 6 World Series, 3 wins

 4256 hits, 1st All Time. To put this is some perspective Derek Jeter, the most recent 3000 hit man, is still over 1000 hits behind Pete.

 3562 career games played, 1st All Time. 254 ahead of Carl Yastremski.

 14,052 career at-bats, 1st All Time. 1,689 ahead of Hank Aaron.

 15,890 career plate appearances, 1st All Time. 1,898 ahead of Yastremski.

 3,215 singles, 1st All Time. There are 15 members of the 3000 hit club that have less total hits than Pete has singles.

 5,929 career times on base, 1st All Time, 330 ahead of Barry Bonds.

 .303 career batting average

 17 All Star games. Selected as a 2nd baseman, right fielder, left fielder, 3rd baseman and 1st baseman.

 3 Batting Championships – 1968, 1969, 1973

 10 seasons with 200 hits, tied with Ichiro Suzuki

 Rookie of the Year – 1963

 NL MVP – 1973

 World Series MVP – 1975

 2 Gold Gloves – 1969, 1970

 1 Silver Slugger Award – 1981

 Selected to Major League Baseball All Century Team

 Led the NL in Fielding Percentage as a RF once, 1970, as a LF, twice, 1972 and 1974, as a 3rd baseman, once, 1976 and as a 1st baseman, once, 1980.

 It’s a shame that Pete will never be inducted in to the Hall of Fame for his actions after his playing career, because his playing career is as good as anyone that ever put on the uniform and to this day, clearly, truly loves the game.

 It was a lot of fun catching up with Pete Rose!!


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  1. Those numbers are truly amazing!! Unfortunately, like most renowned and respected artists, they’re works are only recognized after their passing. I have a hunch that Charlie Hustle will only see his induction into the Hall of Fame from the bleacher seats in the sky.

  2. First ballot Hall of Fame in my book, sad that he was first ballot Dope instead.

    Bill good article, I felt like I was sitting next to you the whole time.

    • Dave, I was thinking about you when I was writing the story. I remember you being a real fan when he played for The Fightins. By the way, I went to Granite Run the following weekend and got the handshake picture signed. He remembered the conversation and was great again. He personalized the picture, asked me how we liked Vegas and told me to be sure I stopped to see him when we come back out. Very cool!!!

      • Pete Rose a baseball player, too bad for him and us that he also had to live outside the lines.
        Head first into third, saving Boone on the foul ball, getting Schmidt to relax, grabbing his batting helmet to play in the outfield at Shea, that is the Pete Rose I remember.

      • As good as there ever was on the field!!! A perfect exmple of what can happen to people when they think they get bigger than the game or the law. Such a shame!!

      • Yes sir. He came to play every day!!

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