Saturday, July 14, 2018

Top Five: Pete Rose

Today is the 48-year anniversary of Pete Rose's game-ending demolition of Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game.

Given how iconic the moment has become, it's a bit odd that this is the only card I own documenting the (in)famous feat -- which hails from the All-Pete, All-the-Time 1985 Galasso checklist, the only set I've ever completed by hand in a single dime box.

Few players cause me as much personal anguish as Pete Rose. I collect him because he's one of the all-time greats, the type of ballplayer I wish could be cloned and dropped into today's game. But Rose himself isn't the greatest human being, of course -- he bet on baseball and, worse, denied it for decades. He's one of those strange figures who cause me to ask myself Should I REALLY be collecting this guy? while I hoard his cards.

Even so, in honor (probably not the best word choice) of his game-winning collision with Mr. Fosse, I present my five favorite Petes from my collection.

#5 -- 1982 Fleer #640 "Pete & Re-Pete"

A fun card from early Fleer made more intriguing by the fact that Pete Rose Jr. played professional baseball for over two decades, all in the minors aside from a brief 11-game cup of coffee with his father's Reds in 1997.

#4 -- 1966 Topps #30 Pete Rose

Not a particularly enthralling card on the surface, but it is my oldest Rose and definitely deserves spot on this list because of that.

#3 -- 1985 Fleer #640 Pete Rose "Superstar Special"

One of the premier cards of my youth right here, and perhaps the one that kicked off my current fascination with Short Term Stops.

I vividly remember buying this gem from a short-lived LCS as a kid, and all throughout my childhood I could never quite grasp the fact that Pete Rose once played for the Expos. The Expos?! It's true, though -- Pete even collected his 4,000th career hit in Montreal, as this card indicates.

But much like my childhood self, I still just can't get used to the sight of Rose as an Expo.

#2 -- 1972 Topps #559 Pete Rose

Rose and the '72 Topps design were made for each other.

#1 -- 1974 Topps #300 Pete Rose

This isn't just my favorite Pete Rose card: it's one of my favorite vintage cards period.

I got a great deal on it at the flea market long ago (I think it was only a buck) and I've been hopelessly in love ever since. This, to me, is Rose (and the Big Red Machine as a whole, for that matter) summed up in one image. Faking a bunt, a look of mischief on his face, ready to outsmart the opponent.

It's vintage Topps at its absolute finest, and the single best card, I think, from Pete Rose's long and controversial career.


Bru said...

The ‘74 Rose looks like it could be a young Steve Martin in disguise, yelling “Gotcha!”

Mike said...

No role model,for sure...but he was one of the most exciting players in my lifetime...great picks!

Fuji said...

That 1974 Topps is a great call. Also like the 85 Fleer or any card featuring Pete with the Expos.