Thursday, October 29, 2009
Pete Rose Record Breaker, Card #5
Well, after a 5 day hiatus from my “Card a Day” blog, I am back for more ’78 record breakers. This is card number 5 in the set and celebrates Pete Rose breaking Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch’s record for hits by a switch hitter. This is really significant because presently Rose owns many career records, many of them seemingly unbeatable, but this was his first major career mark. Frank Frisch had owned the career mark of 2880 since he retired after 19 seasons in 1937. Frisch is 37th All-Time in hits. Pete Rose had another great year in 1977; he topped 200 hits for the 9th time in his career and would finish the year with a .311 batting average and 2966 hits in his career. In ’78 he would become the 14th player to amass 3,000 hits and in 1984 he became the first National League player to get 4,000 hits and the second to do All Time. Of course on September 11, 1985 he hit his 4,192nd base hit to become the All Time Hit King. He finished his career in 4,256 hits, a record that will likely stand forever. He is the All Time leader in games, at-bats, runs scored, hits, singles, most seasons with 200 or more hits (10) and is also the record holder with 23 consecutive seasons with 100 or more hits. When you add in all of the records he holds for switch-hitters or National Leaguers, the list gets pretty long. This is my favorite of the record breaker cards for three reasons. One, because it shows Pete on his way to first base, presumably with a hit. Two, because I can actually remember how excited I got when I pulled this card and it was 30 years ago and finally because Pete Rose rocks. When I played Little League baseball, number 14 was always the first number to go. When a coach said to you “hey kid, nice hustle out there”, it was an epic compliment because you somehow felt that he was associating you with Pete Rose. I started collecting cards much earlier than most of my friends and in 1986 when they had the record breaker series of cards in that set and my friends were pulling them I busted out this blast from the past. It was my favorite card for a long, long time, it is one of the first cards I ever put in a top-loader and even after owning this for 30 years, it’s still in pretty good shape. Pete was not my favorite player growing up, but I tried to emulate him growing up, he was the reason that I became a switch hitter and I modeled my batting stance after him. I knew I would never be as tall as Magic Johnson or Larry Bird or as strong as Mean Joe Green or LC Greenwood, but Pete Rose was the same height and build as my Dad and it gave me hope. He was one of the reasons that I focused on baseball, because I believed that if you hustled, you could succeed regardless of how big or strong you were.