Tuesday, March 29, 2011

#1 Pete Rose

Card Fact: This is the 24th Topps card of Pete Rose. He would only have one more as a player (you'll be seeing them all on the next few cards). Generally, the first cards of a Topps set are a subset of some kind. Topps made an exception because the first subset of the 1986 set was "The Pete Rose Years" in honor of Rose breaking the Ty Cobb's all-time hits record. He also has a manager card in this set.

Card Thoughts: It sure is unusual to see "1B-Mgr" as a position. You'll never see that again. Also, Rose looks a bit like Lou Pinella in this shot. I wonder if another manager would have made Rose the starting 1B at 44?

The Player: Pete Rose probably needs no introduction here. One of the greatest players ever in major league baseball, he played a variety of positions over his long, long career with the Reds, Phillies, and Expos. Generally a lead-off hitter, his nickname was "Charlie Hustle." Although not blessed with great speed or power, Rose used the cavernous, astro-turfed parks so common for most of his career to leg out lots of doubles and triples, although he holds the record for most lifetime singles. The records he holds are too many to name, but there is of course, the big one--the all-time hits record previously held by Ty Cobb. Did you know he also made the most outs and had the most at-bats ever as well?

Unfortunately, Rose is better known today for being kicked out of baseball for betting on games in 1985, 1986, and 1987. He's spent the last several years whining about this and generally acting like an man wronged. It's unlikely that Pete Rose will ever be in the hall-of-fame, or reinstated. It's really a shame.

Rear guard: You can barely read these stats! But look at all the times Rose led the league in various categories (runs, hits, doubles, average, etc). He was beginning to slow down a bit by '85, but still hit .305.

There are some interesting tidbits on all cards in this set, including how the player was acquired, and the slot they were drafted in (and by whom). In the pre-internet days, this really added to you knowledge of a player (although I honestly can't recall ever noticing this). There's also the now obsolete statistic "game winning RBI" (abbreviated GW-RBI at the bottom). This dubious number was supposed to indicate how many games you "won" with an RBI: although if you drove in the the first run of a 12-11 victory, if the lead never changed hands, you would still have "won the game." The statistic was kept starting in 1980, and then mercifully retired in 1988.

1 comment:

Korry said...

Given the opportunity, Dusty Baker would start a 44-year-old first baseman. This is a man who likely still has to be forcibly restrained from signing Neifi Perez and Jose Macias to minor-league deals as "backup."