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When Hustle Won An All-Star Game:

PETE ROSE

         

    Pete Rose will be remembered in a variety of ways by Cincinnati Reds faithfuls.

 

The first impression he made as a young player in 1963 was sprinting to first base on a walk. That earned Rose the nickname "Charlie Hustle," which was applied to him by New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford.

 

He will be remembered as baseball's first $100,000 singles hitter, then later as a jet-setting free agent, offering his services to anyone who would listen to his multimillion-dollar talk.

 

No one will ever forget the 1973 Championship Series at Shea Stadium in New York when he started a fight with Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson. Rose remarked later, "Who else could knock the Egypt-Israeli war off page 1 in New York?"

 

Then there was 1978 when Rose's name was in headlines all year. First, he collected his 3,000th career hit on May 5 against Montreal. Later he put together the longest batting streak in modern National League history, hitting safely in 44 consecutive games.

 

But if there is anyone incident that spells out exactly how this Cincinnati native has played throughout his career, it is the 1970 All-Star game, played ironically enough at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.

 

The situation in the All-Star game was this:

 

The score was tied, 4-4, and two men were out in the bottom of the 12th inning. It was a hot, muggy night along the Ohio River and the crowd was getting restless, wanting something to happen.

   Rose was on second base. Chicago's Jim Hickman was at the plate facing California left-hander Clyde Wright. Hickman lined a pitch up the middle and Rose headed for home plate.

"I could hear Leo (third base coach Leo Durocher) holler 'you gotta go, you gotta go,'" Rose recalled later.

 

Indeed, Pete went. As he approached the plate Rose realized that catcher Ray Fosse, the backstop from Cleveland, had the plate blocked.

 

"All I could see when I went in there was this big mountain," Rose said.

 

Normally, when Rose slides, he slides head-first, but a head-first slide in this situation might have decapitated him. So he took a different route.

 

"I had to try to hit his glove and reach in," Rose remembered. "He was about two feet in front of the plate. All I could see were those shin guards. If I slid in there, I could have broken both legs."

   So Pete lowered his head and left shoulder and went into Fosse. Splat. When they picked up Ray Fosse, the game was over. Rose had scored and the National League had won, 5-4.

Both were banged up. Rose slightly injured his left thigh. Fosse had a more severely bruised right shoulder.

 

 

The play drew sharp criticism from some. How could Rose play this game as if it were the seventh game of the World Series, some asked?

 

"I didn't particularly like the play," California shortstop Jim Fregosi said.

 

"Who knows? Maybe he should have run around me," Fosse said.

 

But Rose doesn't play that way and people should have realized that fact. He plays the game like a little boy, always going full tilt. There was nothing untypical about Rose's All-Star performance. Anyone who had watched Pete Rose play very much would have been disappointed had Charlie Hustle met the obstacle at the plate any other way.

 

Rose has gone on to enjoy many great years. During the 1981 season, he moved past Stan Musial and became the all-time hit leader in National League History.

 

His All-Star opponent at the plate in 1970, Fosse, never seemed quite the same player after that collision and he never again became an All-Star.

 

         
       

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