Pete Rose : biography
Rose made the club, and made his major league debut on April 8, 1963 (Opening Day) against the Pittsburgh Pirates and drew a walk. After going 0-for-11, Rose got his first Major League hit on April 13, a triple off Pittsburgh’s Bob Friend. He hit .273 for the year and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, collecting 17 of 20 votes.
Rose entered the US Army Reserves after the 1963 baseball season. He was assigned to Fort Knox for six months of active duty, which was followed by six years of regular attendance with a 478th Engineering Battalion USAR at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. At Fort Knox, he was a platoon guide and graduated from United States Army Basic Training January 18, 1964, one week before his marriage to Karolyn. Rose then remained at Fort Knox to assist the sergeant in training the next platoon and to help another sergeant train the Fort’s baseball team. Later in his Fort Thomas service, Rose served as company cook which entailed coming in early for the one weekend/month meeting so that he could get out early enough to participate in local Reds games. Other Reds players in the unit included Johnny Bench, Bobby Tolan, and Darrel Chaney.
On April 23, 1964, in the top of the ninth inning of a scoreless game in Colt Stadium, Rose reached first base on an error and scored on another error to make Houston Astros Ken Johnson the first pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter. However, he slumped late in the season, was benched, and finished with just a .269 average. He continued to play in the Venezuelan Winter League with Leones del Caracas team during 1964–1965 season to improve his batting. Rose came back in 1965, leading the league in hits (209) and at-bats (670), and finishing sixth in NL MVP balloting. It was the first of his ten seasons with 200-plus hits, and his .312 batting average was the first of nine consecutive .300 seasons. He hit a career-High 16 home runs in 1966, then switched positions from second base to right field the following year.
In 1968, Rose started the season with a 22-game hit streak, missed three weeks (including the All-Star Game) with a broken thumb, then had a 19-game hit streak late in the season. He had to finish the season 6-for-9 to beat out Matty Alou and win the first of two close NL batting-title races with a .335 average. He finished second to St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson for the NL MVP award, earning six first place votes.
Rose had his best offensive season in 1969, setting a career high in batting (.348) and tying his career-best 16 homers. As the Reds’ leadoff man, he was the team’s catalyst, rapping 218 hits, walking 88 times and pacing the league in runs with 120. He hit 33 doubles, 11 triples, drove in 82 runs, slugged .512 (by far the highest mark of his long career), and had a .432 OBP (also a career best). Rose and Roberto Clemente were tied for the batting title going into the final game; Rose bunted for a base hit in his last at-bat of the season to beat out Clemente (.345).
1970 All-Star game
On July 14, 1970, in brand-new Riverfront Stadium (opened just two weeks earlier), Rose was involved in one of the most famous plays in All-Star Game history. Leading off against the California Angels’ Clyde Wright in the 12th inning, Rose hit a single and advanced to second on another single by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Billy Grabarkewitz. The Chicago Cubs’ Jim Hickman then singled sharply to center. Amos Otis’ throw went past Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse, as Rose barreled over Fosse to score the winning run. It has been written that Fosse suffered a separated shoulder in the collision, but it went undiagnosed initially. Fosse continued to hit for average (he finished the season at .307), but with diminished power—he had 16 home runs before the break but only two after. He played through the 1979 season, but never approached his first-year numbers.The Daily Star July 12, 2003 The collision also caused Rose to miss three games with a bruised knee. As can be seen in a replay of the event, Rose initially intended to slide headfirst as he usually did, but when Fosse blocked the plate prior to the throw reaching home, an off-balance Rose came back up and ran through Fosse as the throw went by. Immediately after the play, Rose can be seen trying to check on the injured Fosse as Rose’s National League teammates ran onto the field to celebrate his winning run.