Monday, June 20, 2016

Honoring Pete Rose: All-Time Hit King


by: Jack Ward
Staff Writer

The Reds are not going to drastically turn things around before the end of the season. But they are showing signs of life in the month of June. Adam Duvall and Jay Bruce continue to carry the offensive load. Adam Duvall followed up his great month of May with 11 home runs with 6 home runs so far in June. What about his two out, two strike home run to tie the game on Saturday. That was clutch!

The Reds have a winning record so far in June at 9-8. They have lost three one-run games that could possibly have gone either way. They are at Texas for two games and then home to take on the Padres for four games and the Cubs for three.

This coming weekend is Pete Rose weekend at GABP. Pete Rose will finally be recognized by the Reds and will have his number retired and he will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame on Sunday. It’s not the Reds fault for the delay but due to his long banishment from Major League Baseball. The powers that be (i.e. the former commissioner Bud Selig) would not allow Pete to be honored by the Reds.

New commissioner Rob Manfred has given the Reds permission to honor Pete. It is going to be a great weekend. I am an unabashed Pete Rose fan. I won’t go into the details of his career but it was the way he played and his competitive spirit that made him so great and that unfortunately led to his problems after his playing days were over. As a twelve year old boy in September of 1968 I got Pete’s autograph at old Crosley Field on the last day of the season. I saw Pete clinch his first batting title and got his autograph the same day!

Not so fast with claiming that Ichiro is the all-time professional hits leader. I agree with Pete Rose. Pete said if you are going to count professional hits then add his minor league hit total. As of Monday, June 20th Ichiro has 2,980 major league hits and 1,278 Japan League hits for a total of 4,258 professional hits. Pete Rose had 4,256 Major League hits alone. If you add his 427 minor league hits that gives him 4,683 professional hits!

Ichiro began his Major League career at age 27 and he is now 42 years old. I saw where one writer had Pete Rose getting 3,091 hits from ages 27-42 compared to Ichiro’s 2,980. There is no way Ichiro is going to get 111 hits the rest of the season playing part time by the way.

Another point…..Ichiro began his career in the Japan League at age 18 and played nine years there before coming to America at age 27. Pete Rose began his Major League career at age 22 and played five seasons before age 27. If Ichiro was signed by a Major League team and came straight to America at age 18, there is no way that Ichiro would not have made a major league roster at that age based on his size and skill set.

If he doesn’t make the major leagues until late in the season of his age 21, that would give him five and one fourth seasons before age 27. Ichiro has averaged 186 hits per season in the Major Leagues. If he averaged 186 hits a season for those five one fourth campaigns he would have had around 976 hits before age 27. His age 27 through age 42 hits are 2980 plus 976 hits before age 27 equals 3,956 hits. Which is still three hundred behind Pete Rose’s 4,256. If that was the case, Ichiro would be hard pressed to make 4,000 hits by the end of this season much less 4,256 hits.

If he played six full seasons before age 27 he would still have only 4,096 hits right now. But he has averaged 96 hits a year since he turned 40. Based on the above scenario If he gets 96 hits this season and 96 next season at age 43 he would finish next year with 4,243 hits. Still not enough to catch Pete!

Don’t get me wrong, Ichiro is and has been a great player, but he is not nor ever will be the all-time professional hit king. IF, and that’s a huge IF, if he had 200 hits a season for the six years under 27 years old only then he would be the all-time hit king. But do we really think a guy that small in his early twenties would have made a major league roster? It’s possible but not likely. I think it’s realistic that he would not have been on a big league roster until he was 25 or 26 years old. Then he would be six or seven hundred short of Pete right now. But we can conjecture, debate and crunch numbers until the cows come home. Instead, let’s just agree and let there be no mistake about it, there is only one hit king and that’s Pete Rose!

I loved Cody Reed’s performance against the Astros last week. I like the Reds chances next year with Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson, Anthony Desclafani, Dan Straily and Homer Bailey as the starters. Tony Cingrani is settling in the closer’s role. With Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias in the bullpen, the future really looks bright for the Reds.

Until next time,

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