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Pete Rose slams Jimmy Rollins for going after a record. PETE ROSE!

Jun 4, 2014, 4:24 PM EDT

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One of the fun things about Pete Rose is that when he was the player/manager for the Reds he put himself in the lineup and at first base so that he could break Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record. Which, to be fair, is what the Reds brass and, I assume, most Reds fans wanted.

Rose wasn’t terrible in 1985 — he got on base at a good clip, but had no power whatsoever — but sabermetrician Craig Wright made a compelling case in a book several years ago that Rose was hurting the Reds by playing himself. I can’t remember the book — if someone does, please chime in — but the upshot was that there were younger players like Nick Esasky either buying buried or who were playing out of position and that the team would have been better off with him or a platoon or something.

No matter which way that actually comes out upon rigorous analytical scrutiny, however, I do think it’s fair to say that Rose’s entire reason for playing in 1985 and 1986 — and more generally, after 1981, really — was to break Ty Cobb’s record. It was his clear goal. Maybe it was a noble goal, but there can be no question that a huge part of Rose’s being was about chasing a record. Which makes his criticism of Jimmy Rollins on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly today fairly hilarious:

Yes, there has been a lot of talk about Rollins not being willing to waive his no-trade clause until he can set the all-time Phillies hit record this season. But if anyone has a right to call Rollins out for that, it sure as heck ain’t Pete Rose.

  1. aceshigh11 - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Reports are that Rose also criticized Kenny Rogers for not knowing when to hold ‘em, nor when to fold ‘em.

    • spursareold - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      If anyone would be willing to give you gambling advice, it would be Rose.

      /rimshot

      • Darwy - Jun 5, 2014 at 3:27 AM

        He’s actually a miserable gambler. I hated having to deal to him.

  2. zackd2 - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    I bet Pete would bet his life he wouldn’t do that…

    • masher1965 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      And give odds, then of course, lose

  3. musketmaniac - Jun 4, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    no he’s mad jimmies counting his money at the table.

  4. 18thstreet - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Had Rose retired after the 1981 season, he would have finished with 3697 hits. That would have left him third behind Cobb and Aaron (who had 3771). It would have been odd to retire at that moment, as Craig suggests he should have. In 1982, he played in all 162 games and had another 172 hits (3869 total). Still popular enough that he was voted (I think!) to start the all-star game. At minimum, he did start the all-star game.

    So coming back for 1983 wasn’t all that odd, either. The .245 batting average certainly suggests he should have called it quits at that point. If he wasn’t the worst first baseman in baseball, he was in the discussion:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=1b&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=1983&month=0&season1=1983&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

    After 1983, he had 3990 hits.

    • peaceknuckle - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      At no point in the article does it once say that Rose should have retired after 81.

  5. metalhead65 - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    so even though Pete got on base at a pretty good clip he was really hurting the reds by playing? and some saber geek went back and decided his numbers were not up to geek standards, and then you can’t understand why I hate metrics. and to answer yes reds fans wanted him to break the record and most baseball fans wanted him to also. hey wait you just made a post without mention of your bat flipping boy, that must be a record for you Craig!

    • spursareold - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:15 PM

      punc·tu·a·tion
      ˌpəNGkCHo͞oˈāSHən/Submit
      noun
      1.
      the marks, such as period, comma, and parentheses, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning.

      • metalhead65 - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        DIE, DIE, DIE, GRAMMAR NAZI!

      • infieldhit - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        Hey, that’s better!

      • 18thstreet - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Yes, because the Nazis rounded up and killed six million Jews over capital letters.

        I have no idea how “grammar Nazi” became an acceptable phrase. I think it’s in incredibly poor taste, and I wish people of good faith word stop using it.

      • jeffbbf - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:48 PM

        yep. and please, everyone note that the nazis did not kill 6 million Jews because of their love of soup. Take your pc crap somewhere else.

      • rpb1234 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:36 AM

        @jeffbbf… Are you saying the Nazis had a good reason for the holocaust?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:16 PM

      I bet Puig beats Pete’s 44 game NL hit streak record.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      I’ve pointed this out before and I shall do it again….

      The fact that Pete Rose ranks 1st all time in hits is impressive….but he also ranks 1st all time in ABs and 1st all time in plate appearances.

      While at the same time ranking 173rd in batting average and 212th in on base percentage.

      Which suggests that, given the same longevity, 172 players would ranks ahead of him in hits, and obviously some would absolutely DESTROY his record.

      The most remarkable thing about his career is it’s longevity, not it’s quality. His career OPS+ of 118 is nice, but it’s not remarkable, and even through 1979 it was only 126 which puts him on par with Robinson Cano, and just above Pablo Sandoval, Matt Kemp, Adam Dunn and Troy Tulowitzki by today’s standards.

      Not a bad place to be, but not earth-shatteringly good.

      • metalhead65 - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        another reason I hate metrics. you just compared some good ball players to one of the all time greats.maybe you and you metric buddies only appreciate the greats by their precious metrics, those of us who were lucky enough to have seen them play are impressed by what we did see and the numbers they did put up. if others had the longevity he did.. if may aunt had a penis she would be my uncle. until somebody else beats it it is indeed an impressive feat.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM

        That’s what OPS+ does.

        It compares players to their peers, allowing for one to compare between generations.

      • 18thstreet - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        I think it’s amazing that Rose was as good as he was into his late 30s. His consistency was truly amazing. And given the obvious fire he played with, it’s no wonder he was so popular.

        I can understand why the Reds, along with Rose himself, wanted Rose to hang on until he broke the record.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:36 PM

        @18thstreet he was definitely a really good player until he was 38 (he had a good year at 40 too, to be fair).

        And then he turned into David Eckstein playing 1st base for 5 years playing for 3 different teams.

        I wasn’t there so I can’t say for certain, but I have to imagine at least some fans took issue with that.

    • 18thstreet - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      That’s not what I was saying at all.

    • masher1965 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      Get off of Pete’s nut’s boy, and get a life. Pete sucks ..oops, well that is your job, isn’t it ??

      • masher1965 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        That was to metalhead

      • tigersfandan - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:20 PM

        Awful comment.

    • largebill - Jun 5, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      It is not just “sabergeeks” who thought Rose wasn’t the best option at first base. Yes, his on base percentage was okay, but you are talking a 1B with zero power and no speed. We are not talking the player who wrecked havoc on the base paths a decade or more earlier.

  6. schmedley69 - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Tomorrow on former 1980 Phillies week, the Fanatic will have on Lonnie “Skates” Smith to bash Dom Brown for his fielding in left.

    • plmathfoto - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      Awesome! And after that show does record ratings, Lonnie comes back to discuss Chase Utley’s base running gaffes!

      • schmedley69 - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:52 PM

        And he can council Chooch about substance abuse.

  7. plmathfoto - Jun 4, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    I’ve said that about Rose all along. And how can any one justify him saying he always wanted to win, his ego (and the record which is part of it) always came first, not putting the best team on the field. He also held back Dan Driessen iirc. He was a punch and judy hitter, and not a very good one at the end, and tied up first base while he was writing out the lineup card!

    • 18thstreet - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      People are complicated. I think that’s the lesson.

      Sorry to be so pedantic. I think you’re right.

  8. rje49 - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    So, what record is Rollins trying (or not) to break???

    • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:12 PM

      “Yes, there has been a lot of talk about Rollins not being willing to waive his no-trade clause until he can set the all-time Phillies hit record this season. But if anyone has a right to call Rollins out for that, it sure as heck ain’t Pete Rose.”

      I read that somewhere. Not sure where.

    • jwbiii - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      Schmidt. He holds most of the Phillies’ hitting records.

  9. jc4455 - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Why would anyone call out Rollins for not waiving a clause in his contract?

    • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      Because he picked the Under of the All Star Break for Rollins being traded.

  10. bronco58lb - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Rose posted OBPs of .359, .334, .430 and .395 between 1982-85. I’m not sure that’s a guy hanging on to break a record.

    His OBP plummeted to .316 in 1986 and he hung him up.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM

      He also Slugged .320, OPSed .672 and OPS+ed 89.

      All the while playing mostly 1st but also some corner outfield.

      Do you feel that is, in any way, the numbers someone averaging 138 games a year in power positions should be putting up?

  11. blacksables - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    The first comment is bitching.

    The other two are actually pretty correct.

  12. sfm073 - Jun 4, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Yes we know that rose is a very flawed individual and he makes a fool of himself every time he opens his mouth, but please leave this poor dead horse alone.

  13. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    ” I do think it’s fair to say that Rose’s entire reason for playing in 1985 and 1986 — and more generally, after 1981, really — was to break Ty Cobb’s record. It was his clear goal.”

    Seeing as he already had the record by the end of 1985, have to disagree with you about 1986. And while we are at it – when Pete Rose broke Ty Cobbs record:

    – He had a .288 avg and .393 OBP as a player/manager
    – He had managed 177 games – and sat himself in 55 of those games
    – His back-up was 43 year old Tony Perez

    But hey – lets not let facts get in the way of bashing Rose

    • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      Um….

      The Tony Perez who had a .001 point better OBP and .251 point better Slugging Percentage in 1985?

      Rose had 501 Plate Appearances with a .713 OPS in 1985 and Tony Perez had 207 with an .866 OPS.

      That point doesn’t just speak negatively of Rose as a player, but far moreso as a manager.

      • dlf9 - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        Perez and Rose were in a pretty strict platoon. While Rose was a switch hitter, Perez batted right and, by that point in his career, was purely a lefty masher. The disparity in playing time is a function of that.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        Exactly – Perez had 207 plate appearances in 1985, and just 67 against RHP. If you believe Perez still had the gas to go a full season or even double hi PA’s, that is your prerogative. But I would hardly second guess any manager for saying that was doubtful.

      • yahmule - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:07 PM

        In 1983, Phillies manager Pat Corrales dared start Tony Perez over Pete Rose in a World Series game and Mr Hustle threw a major hissy fit. Pathetically, the announcers indulged him instead of calling him out for the selfish **** he was.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:19 PM

        Fair enough.

        Cursory numbers of course don’t always tell the whole story, and this one is clearly my bad for not digging a little deeper.

        Although it is worth noting he was pretty bad in 1980, bad in 1982, dreadful in 1983, and also really bad for most of 1984 with Montreal.

        But his performance after being traded back to Cincinnati in 1984 appears to at least have warranted a job in 1985 (when he was mediocre but not terrible)

    • scoochpooch - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:07 PM

      Nice work, the others were just too lazy to check bref.com.

  14. ashoreinhawaii - Jun 4, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    When retired players criticize current players it really lowers my opinion of them. I’ve thought that since I was a kid.
    Just shows a lack of fraternity with people who have shared a wonderful part of Americana with you, even if they did years apart.
    Rose has shown this kind of classlessness toward his brother ballplayers before
    when he said “I did it!” to sell his book when the news should have been Dennis Eckersley’s election to the Hall of Fame.
    “Thanks for your spotlight Dennis. Now everyone go out and buy my book!”

  15. jrocknstuff - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Craig, I believe the Craig Wright book you’re referring to is called “The Diamond Appraised.”

    • dlf9 - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:27 PM

      Apparently I need to type faster … I owe you a coke.

  16. dlf9 - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    Rose wasn’t terrible in 1985 — he got on base at a good clip, but had no power whatsoever — but sabermetrician Craig Wright made a compelling case in a book several years ago that Rose was hurting the Reds by playing himself. I can’t remember the book — if someone does, please chime in — but the upshot was that there were younger players like Nick Esasky either buying buried or who were playing out of position and that the team would have been better off with him or a platoon or something.

    I has been a lot of years and far too much bourbon to remember clearly, but I think this was in Wright’s Diamond Appraised.

    Really this applies much more to ’86. I was 19 and an obsessed baseball fan at the time. First of all, Rose, despite the comment above, was in a platoon in ’85 with Tony Perez. Second, in ’85, perhaps the Reds could have moved Esasky to 1B and brought up Paul O’Neill (at age 22 in AAA had a 759 OPS), Kal Daniels (21 y.o 950 OPS in AA), or Tracy Jones (24 y.o. who split the year between AA [797 OPS] and AAA [930]). But there really was no one on the Reds major league roster who was better than a very OBA heavy (.395) league average OPS.

    By ’86, Daniels and Jones had amazing stats in limited play and probably should have seen more playing time. But that year, Rose himself had under 275 PAs.

    For what its worth, the ’86 Reds had an amazing ABPA or Strat-o-Matic OF with Daniels (148 OPS+) and Jones (134) flanking Eric Davis who was having his breakout year. As a young fan, I thought that OF would be one of the best of all time.

    • cohnjusack - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:34 PM

      I’m sure this is largely due to platoon splits and all…but damn if Kal Daniels didn’t have one the best starts in a career you can put up.

      Kal Daniels 1986-1987
      637 PAs, 107 runs, 181 hits, 34 2B, 32 HR, 87 RBI, .330/.419/.585, 162 OPS+ 41SB

      Mike Trout – 2012
      639 PAs, 129 Runs, 182 hits, 27 2B, 30 HR, 83 RBI, .326/.399/.564, 168 OPS+, 49 SB

      Of course Daniels was 2-3 years older, lacked Trout’s defensive prowess and largely put in favorable platoon situations, but those numbers are still friggin’ amazing.

      Daniels lead the league in OBP in 1988, had an injury plagued 1989, came back in 1990 with a 155 OPS+. Then his faulty knees caught up to him and basically ended his career.

      A great “what could have been” that people really seem to wonder about.

    • 18thstreet - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:07 AM

      I’m all for looking at the advanced metrics to understand what the Reds should have done, but I think it’s revisionist to think that the Reds were looking at those numbers. The questions were: what was his batting average, how many home runs did he hit, and how many RBIs did he hit? It’s hard for me to understand why no one was looking at onbase percentage for all those years, but no one cared. Check out Wade Boggs’s minor league stats sometime.

  17. cohnjusack - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    From 1983 until his retirement, Rose put up an 86 OPS+, which is pretty, pretty bad. When you consider that he did it as a first baseman, it is downright atrocious.

    Of players during that span with at least 1,500 PAs, *Rose ranked as the 3rd worst player in baseball*(using fWAR) behind George Wright and Marvell Wynne (remember those guys?).

    Perhaps if you’re upset about Jimmy not waiving his no-trade clause, then you should really be angry at yourself for signing a then 33-year-old shortstop to a 3 + vesting option deal in the first place.

    Lastly, Jimmy Rollins has been pretty good this year. So…don’t blame him for the fact your team sucks.

    • dlf9 - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      Yeah, I remember George Wright (lithe switch hitting CF who looked like he should have been fast and powerful, but was neither) and Warvell Wynne (basically Omar “The Outmaker” Moreno’s replacement in Pittsburgh during the Curtis Strong cocaine years) pretty well. Probably better than I remember something like 90% of the players active in 2014. Ahhh age.

      Anyway, it is easy to run into fun with endpoints. Rose was attrocious in ’83, a full 2+ Wins Below Replacement (brWAR), his last year as a full time regular. But I doubt any Phillies phan old enough to remember is too upset with that season.

      Moving the endpoints slightly, and Rose improves dramatically. Looking from ’84-86, and Rose is essentially a replacement level player who was absolutely adored by the fans and press drawing crowds and attention. (It is easy to forget more than 25 years since his downfall, but at the time, he was as much the fan favorite as Derek Jeter is today.) Take out ’83, and Rose’s end was pretty much the same as Carl Yastrzemski, Omar Vizquel, Pudge Fisk or Rickey Henderson – a lengthy series of essentially 0 +/- WAR years to end an otherwise stellar career. Nothing too unusual for players of that stature.

  18. jrocknstuff - Jun 4, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Ha! No worries man. I’m a Bourbon man myself as well.

  19. yahmule - Jun 4, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    To be accurate, nobody mails in a radio show like Pete. He probably gave five seconds thought to what he said about Rollins and had his eye on the clock in the studio the entire time.

  20. scoochpooch - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Why do they have to play Rollins at all?
    If he won’t amend his notrade clause, just sit him so he won’t break the record.

    • American of African Descent - Jun 4, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      Because most adults don’t cut off their nose to spite their face.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:11 PM

        That’d be a good response if the Phillies actually had a nose….or a face….and Amaro hadn’t signed Spoons and Sporks to 5 year contracts despite the fact that they were already showing signs of rust, while keeping the sharper knives out of reach.

  21. eagles512 - Jun 4, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    I loved Rose but he sounds dumber every time he opens his mouth. And for the record, Rollins has always wanted to leadoff. And Sandberg even credited his versatility in allowing him to move people around.

  22. imnotyourbuddyguy - Jun 5, 2014 at 12:03 AM

    This guy’s arguement is invalid

  23. greymares - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    Actually if the Phillies front office was doing their job he would have been gone long before he got close to the record. Or at the very least the no trade clause should have never been the latest contract.

  24. sufferingphilsfan - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    to the dude who said pat corrales benched rose in the 83 world series…get your facts straight..paul owens was the manager…but hey, who am i to argue facts.

  25. masher1965 - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Rose complaining about ANYONE playing for records is akin to Hitler complaining about anyone being a racist , pure hypocrisy . Rose will do ANYTHING for attention , and frankly , needs a swift kick in the ass

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