This Day In Sports: One of the last positives for Charlie Hustle

August 11, 1986: In a 13-4 loss to San Francisco, the Cincinnati Reds’ 45-year-old player-manager Pete Rose, already baseball’s all-time hits leader, gets a double and four singles to break the National League record with his 10th five-hit game.Rose had been tied with Hall of Famers Max Carey and Fred Clarke, who each had nine five-hit games. Three nights later, Rose would collect his final major league hit, ending with 4,256 (he had broken Ty Cobb’s career record in 1985). He is also the all-time leader in games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and singles (3,215).

The switch-hitting Rose broke into the big leagues in 1963 with the Reds, winning National League Rookie of the Year honors and quickly earning the nickname “Charlie Hustle.” Emblematic of that was when he barreled over Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game, affecting Fosse for the rest of his career. Rose was a key piece of the Big Red Machine as Cincinnati won the World Series in 1975 and 1976. By 1978, he already had 3,000 hits.

But then there’s the other side of Pete Rose. He received a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 after it was found he had been betting on Reds games while managing the team. Rose was permanently banned from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. He finally admitted to betting on the Reds in an autobiography in 2004. Rose claimed he bet on the team every night—and always bet on the Reds to win.

Rose’s most recent public appearance did nothing to improve his generally rotten reputation. He was honored in Philadelphia last weekend as part of the Phillies’ 1980 World Series championship team, and he berated a female reporter who asked him about his alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl five decades ago (when he was in his 30s). “Who cares what happened 50 years ago?” said Rose. “You weren’t even born so you shouldn’t be talking about it because you weren’t born. And if you don’t know a damn thing about it, you shouldn’t talk about it.” End of interview. But it will never be the end of the story.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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