One of the Phillies best first baseman ever was a player who should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago. He helped the Phillies win their first ever World Series win back in 1980, and he’s been a person that has been around baseball his whole life.
I am speaking about Pete Rose, a player whose accomplishments in baseball are numerous. His contributions to the Cincinnati Reds team were many as well and it earned him the name “Charlie Hustle.”
Rose had a great career as a player then almost immediately moved into a role as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Rose started his professional baseball career at the age of 22 in 1963. He played the season with the Reds in his first year, it was 154 games. The season earned him the coveted ‘Rookie Of The Year’ for 1963 and started Pete Rose off to greatness in baseball.
Rose played for 24 seasons in baseball, and in 1980, with the Phillies, he played in all 162 regular season games for the team, and hit 42 doubles that season at 39 years old. Pete Rose was phenomenal, the younger fans of the game today, only know him as a player who is being kept out of the Hall Of Fame because of things he would do after his career as a player, but as a manager of the Cincinnati Reds.
I could write a 400 page book about the subject of Pete Rose and why he isn’t in the Hall of Fame, but should be. That would be entirely too much to post here on the website, but this post will feature Pete Rose, the player, and how his great accomplishments helped the Phillies win their first ever World Series, and how the Phillies landed Pete Rose as a player back in 1979.
The Phillies were on the cusp of doing some great things in the mid to late 1970’s. In 1976 and 1977, the Phillies teams scored the most amount of wins ever up to that time in a season for the franchise. In the ‘76,’77, and ‘78 seasons, the Phillies finished in first place in the NL East, and made it to the NLCS all three years, only to lose all three times. There was a missing ingredient to the team, a piece of the puzzle that the Phillies needed to add to help propel them further. The puzzle piece was Pete Rose. In the offseason of 1978/1979, Pete Rose would be one of the most sought after free agents ever in baseball.
On December 3rd 1978, the Phillies announced they had signed Pete Rose. The move was criticized as ‘outrageous’ with the amount of money the Phillies would be paying Rose for his services. Of course, in relation to the amount of money that some baseball players make today in 2012, this amount of money seems almost trival.
The Phillies signed Pete Rose to a 4 year deal for the sum of $3.225 million dollars, much of what it took to pay Pete Rose that kind of money back then was tied to a local TV station, who still airs a lot of Phillies games, WPHL was instrumental in making the Pete Rose deal happen as it was reported here in Sports Illustrated in 1979.
Next in this series: the Maury Z Levy interview with Pete upon his arrival in Philly in 1979, this interview has played on a couple of blogs over the years including Maury's own blog. We'll hear that tomorrow in the next post.