Pete Rose was not supposed to be in the lineup against the Cubs on Sept. 8, 1985, but scheduled starting pitcher Steve Trout had a bicycle accident the evening before the game. Trout injured his pitching shoulder and was scratched.
Pete Rose preferred to have Tony Perez play first base against left handers, but when right-hander Reggie Patterson was announced as the Cubs' starter, Reds' playing manager Rose put himself into the starting lineup.
Reggie Patterson Was Lucky to Be Alive
Reggie Patterson was fortunate to be alive, much less starting for the Cubs.
In November, Patterson was a hold up victim in Caracas, Venezuela. He was shot in the right side of his back, survived, and as recently as June, needed surgery to relieve a nerve blockage behind his right shoulder.
Now he was going to face Pete Rose, who was closing in on Ty Cobb's career hit record.
Pete Rose Ties Ty
In the top of the first, Pete Rose hit the first pitch he saw for a line drive single to left for career hit 4,190*.
Next time up, Pete grounded out to second baseman Ryne Sandberg.
In the fifth, the wind picked up as the sky darkened. Pete got into his low crouch as the fans cheered wildly. Patterson's first two deliveries were not to Pete's liking and both were called strikes. The next two pitches were in the dirt to even the count at 2-2.
The fans, who wanted to be part of history, booed Patterson, who peered into catcher Jody Davis, got the signal, nodded assent, and threw ball three.
Rose hit Patterson's next pitch, a screwball from a right hander, into right field to tie the record.
Pete Rose Grounds Out
Bob Dernier made the third out in the Cubs' half of the sixth inning. Pete Rose would lead off the top of the seventh.
The fans shouted, "Pete, Pete," anticipating the record-breaking hit. The fans were standing, as were the players on the Cubs' bench.
Relief pitcher Lary Sorensen's first two deliveries missed as the fans again booed. The third pitch was a called strike and then Pete fouled one off to even the count at 2-2. He then grounded out sharply to shortstop Shawn Dunston.
The rain started, delaying the game for two hours and three minutes.
With the game tied 5-5 in the ninth inning, Pete batted with runners on first and second, no outs, ace relief pitcher Lee Smith on the mound, and the sky darkened.
Many managers would go by the book and have the batter sacrifice to move the runners up. A fly ball would put the Reds ahead.
Manager Rose Has Batter Rose Swing
But with runners on second and third and one out, Cubs' manager Jim Frey would probably walk Dave Parker to take his chances with Nick Esasky.
Pete Rose was the manager, and he eschewed the bunt. Rose, Parker, and Esasky all struck out.
The Cubs were retired in order in the bottom of the ninth, and the game was suspended. Pete would have to wait another day.
Play Every Game to Win
Pete Rose played to win. He never stopped hustling, and he never compromised the chances of his team winning.
Many in the media thought that Rose should break Ty Cobb's record in Cincinnati, where Pete played and where he was born.
Pete said that he would prefer to break the record in Cincinnati, but that he would be swinging for a hit every time up.
"It's my business. And we're in a pennant race. Every hit's important for the team."
Pete Rose may have bet on baseball games, but to think that Pete Rose put anything above winning baseball games is to be wrong.
One Word Explains It Fully
Pete Rose and a friend were riding in a car one late night. He asked Pete what drives him.
The one word answer fully explains Pete Rose, an answer only those who cannot accept defeat and would do anything to avoid it can fully comprehend.
*(NOTE: According to its Web site, MLB.com, Major League Baseball continues to recognize Cobb's final hit total as 4,191, though independent research has revealed that two of Cobb's hits were counted twice.)
By IRA BERKOW Special to The New York Times. (1985, September 9). Rose Hits Nos. 4,190 and 4,191, Tying Cobb's 57-Year-Old Record :Rose Equals Cobb's Base-Hit Record. New York Times (1857-Current file),A1. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 229051682).
IRA BERKOW. (1985, September 1). The Meaning of Rose. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. S4. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 114654797).