In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
With a first-inning single off Eric Show of the San Diego Padres, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds becomes baseball’s all-time hit king. The base hit is the 4,192nd of Rose’s career. The previous record of 4,191 hits was held by Ty Cobb. Pete Rose gets a prolonged ovation and embraces his song Pete Rose Jr. After getting the record-breaking hit at Riverfront Stadium. Pete Rose would retire in 1986 with 4,256 hits.
Pete Rose was the Reds hometown hero born and raised in Cincinnati on April 14, 1941. He was known for his hardnosed play and hustle. A vital member of the Big Red Machine that won two straight World Series in 1975 and 1976, Rose collected his 3,000th hit and had a 44-game hitting streak in 1978. However, as the Big Red Machine began to be taken apart, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for four years and $3.2 million for the 1979 season. In Philadelphia, Rose helped the Phillies win their first title in 1980 and became the National League’s record holder in base hits. After five years with the Phillies, Pete Rose began the 1984 season with the Montreal Expos. There he became just the second player in baseball history with 4,000 career hits as he started closing in on the record held by Ty Cobb.
At the end of the 1984 season, Pete Rose returned to the Cincinnati Reds in a trade for Tom Lawless. Upon his return to the Reds, Rose was named manager. As the 1985 season began, Pete Rose was within reach of Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record, which at the time was 4,191. Throughout the season in Cincinnati, there was anticipation that the hometown hero would pass Cobb. Rose already had the record for most career single, most career games, and most career at-bats and plate appearances; now, he focused on one of baseball’s most elite milestones.
On September 8th, the Reds faced the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Pete Rose entered the game with 4,189, two hits away from Ty Cobb. Two days earlier, he had hit a home run and had two hits to get to 4,189. With a first-inning single off Reggie Patterson, Rose reached 4,190. In the fifth inning, Pete Rose singled to equal Ty Cobb at 4,191. Pete Rose would get two more at-bats but failed to get a hit, as the game ended 5-5 after innings as it was suspended due to darkness.
Pete Rose took the following game off as the Reds began a four-series at home against the San Diego Padres. After going hitless in four at-bats, Pete Rose was batting second as the Reds faced Eric Show. In the first inning on a 2-1 count, Pete Rose laced a single to left field to break the record. A packed house at Riverfront Stadium rose to Pete Rose, a standing ovation, as he embraced his son, who was serving as a batboy. In the seventh inning, Rose added a triple and scored on Nick Esasky sac fly. The Reds would win the game 2-0.
Pete Rose would end the 1985 season with 4,204 hits. Rose would collect 52 more hits in 1986, which ended up being his final season as he finished his career with 4,256 hits. Years later, an audit was taken on Ty Cobb’s hit total, and one two-hit game was mistakenly counted twice, meaning his correct total was 4,189, meaning that Pete Rose actually set the record three days earlier in Chicago.