Long Standing Records: Pete Rose 4,256 Career Hits


He is once again in the news, only this time it’s because of his message he delivered as a keynote speaker over the weekend.  Yes, “Mr. Charlie Hustle” himself, Pete Rose took the opportunity at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center Gala to declare, should any baseball GM or owner be listening, he would love to manage a Major League team again. 

Rose has already admitted he bet on baseball and here we are once again talking about Pete Rose. So I thought this week would be a great opportunity to look at the “lifetime hits king” as this week’s Long Standing Record: Pete Rose 4,256 hits.

His playing career spanned over 23 years, which began in 1963 and ended in 1986 where he would play for three organizations.  Twice for the Cincinnati Reds and a stint for both the Montreal Expos and Philadelphia Phillies. 

The switch hitting Rose made a living out of getting on base as evidenced by his lifetime batting average of .303.  Along with owning the most career hits, Rose also owns many records, including most games played (3,562), at bats (14,053) and outs (10,328).  But it’s his hits that is so impressive.  He also hit safely in 44 straight games, good enough for the third longest streak ever. 

Rose got his first hit of his career on April 13, 1963 when he ripped a triple off of Pittsburgh’s Bob Friend.  Prior to that, he was 0-11 to start his career and looking at what he did after that triple, I’d say he found his groove.

On the 21st anniversary of his first career hit in the Majors, Rose, a member of the Expos, doubled off Phillies pitcher Jerry Koosman for his 4,000th career hit.  He joined Ty Cobb as the only other player to accomplish that feat and you knew it was only a matter of time before he broke Cobb’s record. 

Rose was traded back to Cincinnati later that year and he saw his batting average jump almost immediately from .259 to .363.  He was home where he belonged and as acting manager, Rose would make history. 

Oddly enough, it was September 11, 1985 that Rose collected his 4,192nd hit, breaking Ty Cobb’s record.  There was a new hit king and it was Pete Rose.  He would go on to play for one more season and would collect another 64 hits before striking out on his final plate appearance on August 17, 1986. 

Will this record ever be broken? I don’t believe it will be.  There is nothing but hall of fame names on the top 20 list of career hits.  Names such as Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, Paul Molitor, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, just to name a few.  In fact, there are 27 Major Leaguers who have collected 3,000 or more hits, but only the two that have 4,000 plus; Cobb and Rose.

The closest active player is Derek Jeter and he’s 35 hits shy of 3,000.  He’ll most certainly hit that prestigious plateau, but we all know he’s nearing the end of his career.  He’ll most likely end up with around 3,300 hits when he walks away from the game and he’ll be around 1,000 hits shy of Rose.

Another name that comes to mind is Ichiro Suzuki.  Had Ichiro not spent the first 9 years of his career playing in Japan, he would most likely have the only shot at breaking this record.  But because it’s an MLB record, Ichiro’s stats from his Japan league don’t count.  Already at 37 years of age, Ichiro has amassed over 2,200 hits and counting.  Since entering the Majors in 2001, Ichiro owns the record of having 200+ hits in 10 consecutive seasons.  He’ll most likely play another few years and very well could get 200+ hits in any of those seasons.  Should he play for another 2 years, taking  his MLB service to 13 and hypothetically let’s give him his 9 previous years in Japan as MLB service.  That would give him 22 seasons in the Majors and if he had 200+ hits in 20 of those years he would have most likely broken Pete Rose’s record.

But that’s all a bunch of what if’s and assumptions.

The fact is that Rose was a hitting machine and now a days you don’t have many players who can hit like Ichiro on a yearly consistency and play as long as Jeter will play.  It’s a combination of athleticism, health and luck that is doubtful to be seen again.

This is a record I don’t see falling.

 What are your thoughts on this Long Standing Record?  Think it will be broken?  After all, records were made to be broken.

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Tags: Bob Friend Cal Ripken Carl Yastrzemski Cincinnati Reds Dave Winfield Derek Jeter Hank Aaron Ichiro Jerry Koosman Montreal Expos New York Yankees Paul Molitor Pete Rose Philadelphia Phillies Pittsburgh Pirates Seattle Mariners Tony Gwynn Ty Cobb

  • Jonathan Bohall

    I agree with you that the hit record may never be broken. One important thing to note about Rose is that he was absolutely obsesses with records. It would take someone who was as good or better than Pete and have the willingness to play forever–well past when he is useful as a baseball player.

    • Derek Stykalo

      Thanks for the comments Jonathan.

      I agree that it’ll take someone pretty special who has the skill and health to even take a run at this one.

      As far as Rose being obsessed with records, he seems like the type that would be obsessed with that. He’s always seemed a little off to me.

      Interested to know, would you hire him for your ballclub?

      • Jonathan Bohall

        In a word, no.

        For one thing, he’s old and he’s been out of the game for over 20 years. The game has changed a lot since then. For another, he wasn’t that great a manager in the first place. He had a tough transition from player to manager. The Reds had an up and coming first baseman (I can’t remember who), but Pete viewed him as a rival instead of someone to help develop. Pete thought he was the better player so he gave himself more at bats. I’ve read that at the end of his managing career, he was much more interested in his personal affairs than the Reds.

        And finally, bringing in Pete Rose to manage would be a bigger story than anything else relating to the team. I don’t think the manager should be the one generating the headlines and anything Pete did would overshadow anything the team did.

  • http://www.bosoxinjection.com Rick Meegan

    Rose also benefitted by playing most of his games on artificial turf. He was a master at driving the ball straight down and beating it out. He also played in more games and more at bats then anyone in history.

    I too think this record could be unbreakable, players don’t last into their early to mid 40′s anymore.

    I do wonder how many hits Ichiro would have if he played his entire career here. i bet he would have given Rose a run for his money (pun intended)