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The Validity of 4256

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  • The Validity of 4256

    Brett mentioned the possibility of A-Rod having the all-time hit record by the time he retired. It made me think of the current record holder and how he came to amass that number of hits...

    Pete Rose's record is specious in my mind for a few reasons.

    1. Pete Rose had 13 seasons where he played more than 154 games, which was the max Cobb could have played. That's 104 extra games Rose played in that Cobb never could have played in.

    2. Rose had 173 hits after his team's game 154 alone. I went back season by season to calculate this using Retrosheet.

    -Another way of looking at it was that it took Rose about 2,500 more PA to break that record- and by virtue of the 162 game schedule had almost 200 more career games available.

    3. During his last 4 years, Rose was a. 256 hitter with a .305 slugging and 2 homeruns in his final 1748 PA!!! This is a guy who couldn't run, couldn't hit, couldn't hit for power, couldn't field, and was out there solely because he kept himself in the lineup to break the record in a shameless manner. Trying to hit singles and only singles to pad his totals.

    I saw an interview with Rose in 1979 after he had broken Cobb's record for 200 hit seasons (10). He self-absorption was omnipresent- he knew his exact totals in hits, runs, doubles, and even times on base. He knew his standing amongst the all timers in National League history, even then.

    After he broke the record in Sept. 85', he boasted that he would go on to break Cobb's all time record for runs scored, too.

    People talk about the number of extra PA's/games Aaron had to break Ruth's record. Well, Aaron was still a very good hitter during his last 4 years- and didn't keep himself in the lineup as player-manager to break the record.

    What does everyone feel about this record in light of these facts?

  • #2
    --I don't think anyone thinks that Rose compiling more hits than Cobb makes him the better hitter. Well no one with any sense of baseball history anyway.
    --I'd respect Rose more if he'd retired once it was clear he didn't belong in the lineup anymore and retired short of the record. He could have been one of 2 men with 4,000 hits without embarrassing himself and dragging down his career rates the way he did. However bad he looked settting the record though it is still the record. It may not mean much, but I can't see how it would not be valid.

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    • #3
      I do not hold #1 and # 2 against Rose. The schedule is the schedule. Rose was very durable and that should be praised, not held against him.

      As for #3 Rose absolutely abused his role as Red's manager. In 1985 he had a group of young players that he could have put at first base. He had players like Eric Davis, Nick Esasky, Gary Redus, Paul O'Neil plus a super prospect in Kal Daniels in the minors. Rose hit .264 and slugged .319 in '85. I think Gary Redus made a comment against Rose playing so much and he got hammered by the media. Chris, have you read the book The Diamond Appraised by Craig Wright and Tom House? They discuss Rose breaking Cobb's all time hit record at length. Wright, the baseball outsider, hammered Rose, while House, the baseball insider, made pathetic excuses for Rose.
      Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 04-04-2008, 04:26 PM.
      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
        I do not hold #1 and # 2 against Rose. The schedule is the schedule. Rose was very durable and that should be praised, not held against him.

        As for #3 Rose absolutely abused his role as Red's manager. In 1985 he had a group of young players that he could have put at first base. He had players like Eric Davis, Nick Esasky, Gary Redus, Paul O'Neil plus a super prospect in Kal Daniels in the minors. Rose hit .264 and slugged .319 in '85. I think Gary Redus made a comment against Rose playing so much and he got hammered by the media. Chris, have you read the book The Diamond Appraised by Craig Wright and Tom House? They discuss Rose breaking Cobb's all time hit record at length. Wright, the baseball outsider, hammered Rose, while House, the baseball insider, made pathetic excuses for Rose.
        I agree with everything you said. Holding the long season against him is akin to the asterisk for Maris. They played the games they were given.

        He clearly continued to play after his production declined to below a replacement player. Does that make the record invalid? No, but it also doesn't make you forget how great Cobb was.

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        • #5
          The quintessential compiler.
          http://soundbounder.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            I guess it just has to be accepted, it's a number and what can be done about a finite number it's simple math, Pete had the highest total.

            I'm sure that although it's in the book most know that even though higher in total it's no where near the value of Cobbs total. Pete is for sure not even on the same page as Ty in hitting skill. Pete with 67 more hits but with 2600+ more at bats.

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            • #7
              As a Reds fan in '85, and a Pete Rose fan as well.....
              We all knew he was benching a player who was better(Esasky). No one cared...that record was in every newspaper, every radio sports broadcast. It was the equivalent of when baseball was put back into the limelight by Sosa and McGwire during the HR chase year. For that much at least, it was worth it.

              Did it make sense? likely, yes, at least financially. The Reds were recovering from a 2 year run as one of the worst teams in baseball history. While Redus and Davis and the young guys were coming...they weren't ready to challenge the Dodgers. Well, they shouldn't have been...still not sure how they contended, that team was medicore at best. If you believe that a Pythag win % boost is a credit to the manager, Rose did SOMETHING right. He did have nearly a .400 OBP in '85, and an OPS+ of 99. '86 was his true disgrace... a 61 OPS+ with arguably a better team being drug down by his remnant of a bat.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                Chris, have you read the book The Diamond Appraised by Craig Wright and Tom House? They discuss Rose breaking Cobb's all time hit record at length. Wright, the baseball outsider, hammered Rose, while House, the baseball insider, made pathetic excuses for Rose.
                I have that book. Here are some concluding thoughts that Craig Wright summed up his excellent article with.

                "Pete got his all-time hit record in 1985, but he had abused the game in a way that had never been done before. He went far beyond the simple case of letting an older veteran hang on just a moment longer to achieve a major milestone before fading back into whatever role he could earn. Rose passed Cobb by taking advantage of his situation for two, if not three, seasons.

                They say one sin leads to another, and I was less surprised when Rose announced he would play again in 1986. Why? Believe it or not, he mentioned Cobb's record for runs scored: "I'm only 95 runs back." I wonder what we should do if he realized he had a shot at the all-time RBI record if he could hang on through age 65.

                Well, Rose gave it a try, but a .219 average with no homers in 237 at bats saved Cobb's run record. As it was, Rose still gave himself more at bats than rookie Kal Daniels, who hit .320 and slugged .519 in 181 at bats.

                This hasn't been easy to write about. I admired Pete Rose through the vast majority of his career. I was even touched by his reaction to attaining the hit record. Yet what Rose did--what we allowed him to do--was to cheapen every record in the book. The respect we have for baseball records, particularly the career achievements, is based on the assumption, the trust (italics his) that they are the result of performance and durability in the context of the game. That is, they came out of a winning effort.

                Rose betrayed that trust and was allowed to tarnish the special regard held for these records. Future generations may skeptically view all the top career records as they wonder whether the record holder had pulled a "Pete Rose" to attain his mark.

                Someone has to say this. Maybe the glitter of the moment blinded us, but I guarantee that sometime in the future, when that glitter has been forgotten, many people will say it. The way this record was attained was a disgrace--a disgrace to Rose, a disgrace to the fans, a disgrace to the media, the game, and all who supported it. It should never have been allowed to happen. It should not be allowed to happen again." (The Diamond Appraised, by Craig R. Wright and Tom House, 1989, pp. 96-97.)

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                • #9
                  Rose had one of the worst 5 year periods in history from '82-'86. If he had been a shortstop with some legs, he might have been an average player during that period. His combined ERA+ of 87 for a first baseman who was not a base runner of any merit might have been OK for 1 season, but its a period of over 650 games.

                  To be fair, he hit .326 to end the '84 season and seemed to have some return in '85 with a 108 OPS+ throught the first half (due to his ability to draw walks).

                  '83 was one of the worst seasons in history.

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                  • #10
                    One other thing-Tony Perez had a great (half) year in '85 and was really robbed of his swan song in my view. He should have been a full time player and should have had a chance to start in '86. He may have lost 3000 hits AND 400 home runs to Pete Rose.

                    Wasn't Dave Parker a big part of that team's suprising success?

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                    • #11
                      Its normal for someone to want to hang on as long as possible when they approaching a very well known record, and i think the temptation increases alot if the record has stood for so long.
                      Should he have stopped playing once he was a below average player and only hurting his teams on field performance? Probably.
                      Do i blame him for carrying on? No. He still clearly enjoyed playing and cared about the records and his legacy. Its easy from a spectators POV to say you'd step down once your performance had dropped regardless of how close you were, but all of us dont get the chance to make that decision in real life.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bob View Post
                        Its normal for someone to want to hang on as long as possible when they approaching a very well known record, and i think the temptation increases alot if the record has stood for so long.
                        Should he have stopped playing once he was a below average player and only hurting his teams on field performance? Probably.
                        Do i blame him for carrying on? No. He still clearly enjoyed playing and cared about the records and his legacy. Its easy from a spectators POV to say you'd step down once your performance had dropped regardless of how close you were, but all of us dont get the chance to make that decision in real life.
                        A lot of players don't get the choice either. Most players have a manager who'll say, "You don't have it any more, it might be time to bow out gracefully. There's no shame in being second to Ty Cobb." Rose only had himself at the end, and he - in his role as manager - showed unbelievably poor judgment in pursuit of his personal goal. I mean, Carlton Fisk was at least credible as a catcher, certainly not as a hitter, while pursuing his games caught record. That position puts a premium on defense. Rose was an average hitter - at best - playing a position that puts a premium on hitting ability. His defense was also only average, so that doesn't even help the situation.

                        Look at Tony Perez, as was mentioned. In 1985, Perez had 4 fewer doubles and 4 more home runs than Rose in less than half as many ABs. He was .328/.396/.470 to Rose's .264/.395/.319. The Reds everyday first baseman slugged three-nineteen! That is unbelievably bad! The middle infielders and catchers for the Reds had more pop in their bats. Buddy Bell, in 67 games had more doubles, the same number of triples, and more home runs - while playing third base. Nine players at least tied Rose in doubles. Eight had at least as many triples. Fourteen players had at least as many home runs! Davey Concepcion hit for more power than he did!

                        Anyway, I feel like this is devolving into a Ken Tremendous-style meltdown, so I'll just say this: Yes he has the record, and it may be one of the least deserved records in all of sports.
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                        5.

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                        • #13
                          I think the point of the thread is to question whether Pete's hits 'record' was honestly and legitimately won. And I think that any thinking, thoughtful fan would have to say a resounding "No!"

                          The point is that if Rose had played under another manager, he wouldn't have gotten a chance to go for the record, certainly not as a Red, who had much better players than Pete, at that time.

                          Pete only got more career hits than Cobb by grievously abusing his position of authority as Reds' manager. He deliberately allowed games to be lost in his personal ambition for glory.

                          No other manager would have played Pete ahead of around 4-5 players. He would have had to go elsewhere, where they didn't have better players.

                          Yes, Pete was still better than the average L. player, but not better than what he had on the Reds. And that was the problem. He played himself ahead of much better players, who would have helped the team much better than Pete did.

                          By contrast, Cobb actually benched himself in the 20's when he had better hitters than himself. And that happened even when Ty was hitting around .380! He had Heilmann, Manush, Fothergill, Flagstead, Wingo. And he often benched himself to play his good, up-and-coming hitters. And that was because he saw his future bread and butter as a manager who won games, as opposed to adding my icing to his career totals.
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 08-05-2011, 12:53 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
                            Yes, Pete was still better than the average L. player, but not better than what he had on the Reds. And that was the problem. He played himself ahead of much better players, who would have helped the team much better than Pete did.
                            Except he wasn't, y'know, better than the average league player - let alone the Reds. His OPS+ the last 5 years of his career were: 90, 69, 99, 99, 61. He didn't hit over .286 any of those years. He didn't slug better than .338, and his SLG% was always lower than his OBP. The only decent players I can find like that played in the dead ball era, and it wasn't common then. His OBP ranged from .395 (actually above his career line) to .316 (not good). His defense at 1B was average. His defense at other positions was below average.

                            He was, as the kids say, "not good."

                            As an aside: For a look into how much people think of Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, and this record, one need only look at the "Greatest Hitters" polls in this forum.
                            sigpic
                            5.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
                              By contrast, Cobb actually benched himself in the 20's when he had better hitters than himself. And that happened even when Ty was hitting around .380! He had Heilmann, Manush, Flagstead, Wingo. And he often benched himself to play his good, up-and-coming hitters.
                              Bill,

                              Thanks for posting the excerpt The Diamond Appraised. Craig Wright also mentioned this as well. He pointed out that Cobb cared more about winning games than his own personal goals which is why he benched himself to play his young players.
                              Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 04-05-2008, 05:20 PM.
                              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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