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.