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Through Rose Colored Glasses…

[ 65 ] October 10, 2012 |

Pete Rose:

Pete Rose is a self-admitted big fan of Derek Jeter, but the all-time hits leader has done some math and says the New York Yankees shortstop will not touch his record.

Rose told the website Sports on Earth this week that not only is time not on Jeter’s side — he’s 38 years old and 952 hits shy of tying Rose — but the Yankees also don’t have the flexibility to move him to another position should Jeter remain productive at the plate.

“I don’t think he will break the record,” Rose said. “First of all, I don’t think he wants to leave the Yankees. And the Yankees, they’re about winning. Jeter had a great year this year, but he’s what? Thirty-eight years old? And he’s a shortstop? How many 40-year-old shortstops you see walking around? Not too many, right?

“And they can’t put him at third because A-Rod’s there. They can’t put him at second ’cause [Robinson] Cano’s there. He don’t help them in left field — he’s got to be in the center of things, you know what I mean? What are they going to do? Put him at first base?”

Move an aging, steadily less productive hitter to an easier position just in order to accumulate stats?  That’s crazy; what kind of manager would let that happen?

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Comments (65)

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  1. Brian says:

    [Stupid person here]
    I don’t follow what that link to Rose’s managerial history is supposed to be showing me about moving a steadily less productive hitter.

  2. Mudge says:

    I guess Jeter needs a managerial job. I also thought the AL still had the DH. Jeter is not a prototypical DH, but if stat accumulation is the goal, that might be the place.

    Rose occasionally needs to update his credentials as an asshole.

  3. Hogan says:

    Not that I give a toss about being fair to Pete Rose, but he wasn’t the manager when he started playing first base full time. It’s more that he stayed in that easy position when he went to Cincinnati and decided to put his aging but still bloated ego ahead of the team’s needs. Again.

    • greylocks says:

      You know, guys, it’s really easy to look this shit up on baseball-reference.com etc.

      Rose batted .365 in the partial 1984 season when he was brought in to replace Rapp on a truly suckacious team. This is not sucky.

      He was third in team BA in 1985 and had respectable enough OPS and OBP that I seriously question the sanity of anyone who thinks there was some other first baseman out there, available to the Reds, who would have made up the 5.5 game difference between the Reds and the Dodgers.

      1986 was a different matter. Rose’s stats, including his defensive numbers, collapsed. He played 72 games that year and put up 52 hits. He also rang up 6 errors.

      Was Rose playing in 1986 to run up his numbers? I find that case weak, although he was accused of it at the time. For one thing, all the other players in top ten career hits list at the time were either dead or long retired. It’s not like they were going to come back to overtake Rose’s record.

      I think it’s safe to say that Rose was (a) egotistical enough to believe that his mere presence on the field was an inspirational spark to the rest of the team; and (b) he was under tremendous pressure from the fans, the front office and the sports media to keep playing. His popularity at the time cannot be overstated, and the controversy and novelty of his being a P/M only boosted the TV ratings.

      • Bill Murray says:

        Pete Rose had 6 years in which he played more or less full time (more than 400 PAs), after 1979. He was an above average hitter once and essentially average two other times, mostly driven by a 26 game hot streak with the Reds. After 1979, he was not a starting first base type hitter. Thus he wasn’t really starting caliber for most of the 5 years before he installed himself as a starting first baseman.

        In 1984 and 1985 he hit 0.275, with little power, although he did walk about 1.26 times per 9 plate appearances. In 1985, they had quite a few good young outfielders who could have used the seasoning — Eric Davis, Kal Daniels and Paul O’Neill come to mind right away — who could have played with Nick Esasky moving to the infield — ie what happened when Rose got so bad in 1986

        • JRoth says:

          Maybe this is an OPS+/wRC+ distinction, but wRC+ has him at 122 and 109 in 1981 and 1984 respectively – surely 9% better than average isn’t “essentially average”? So now, from 1980 through 1985 (setting aside ’86 for now), he has 2 above average years, 2 average years (wRC+ 98 and 100), and 2 below average years (89 and *ack* 66). That’s not the profile of a 1B (especially one who can’t field the position well), but he’d hardly be the first vet getting starts beyond his capability.

          Mind you, I was raised to dislike Rose – “Showboat” my Cubs fan grandfather called him – but, per Fangraphs, he was a league average player as late as ’81, and was better than replacement (on average) from ’80 through the end of his career (up through ’79, he was above average almost every one of his first 17 seasons). I’m not saying he deserved the last ~1500 PAs he got, but I am saying he wasn’t uniquely undeserving. Mo Vaughn, frex, had 2000 PAs after his last above average season as an ML player. It happens, even to players who aren’t writing the lineup cards.

  4. dollared says:

    Brian, Pete was a player manager. He moved himself to first base and kept himself in the league so he could break Ty Cobb’s hit record.

    Of course, he had already broken Cobb’s record for self-serving assholery.

    • Auguste says:

      Nah. I mean, I get your point, but that record will remain unbroken in baseball until the end of time.

      • Timb says:

        Yeah as terrible a human being as Rose is, he couldn’t hold a candle to Cobb.

        • John F says:

          If you discount Al Stump’s work (and you should), I think it’s pretty clear that while Cobb had anger management issues, Rose is/was a far worse human being

          • spencer says:

            Was/is Rose as vicious a racist as Cobb was?

            Did he climb into the stands to beat up a heckler who was missing one entire hand and three fingers on the other? (And there are other accounts than Stump’s for this.)

            How many black night watchmen did Rose stab?

            Cobb was a shitstain. There’s no way Rose – as big an asshole as he was/is – even comes close.

  5. Linkmeister says:

    Well, Jeter’s probably not gonna replace Texeira at 1B either, so DH would be the only logical place for him.

    • actor212 says:

      Until Teixiera becomes DH, you mean. After all, his contract runs until 2016, and while he’s still fairly young (especially by first base standards– 32) he’s not going to be a Gold Glover for another four years. Plus, his batting average has more dips and curves than The Cyclone.

      Jeter is pretty consistent about 200 hits or so each year. Rose is not wrong. He’ll need a four year contract extension (three, actually, assuming the Yankees pick up the 2014 option).

      Could you make Jeter the DH now and then swap him to first in 2016 or thereabouts? Especially since it’s more likely he’ll be enduring more injuries as the years pass? I sure wouldn’t, but I’m glad it’s not me who has to make those decisions.

  6. Woodrowfan says:

    I didn’t mind Rose playing first until be got #4192. It was exciting and put fans in the seats. It was his continuing to play after he got #4192 that bugged me.

    • Josh G. says:

      Yes, looking at his performance, I think giving himself playing time in 1986 was an extremely difficult decision to justify. He had already broken the record in 1985, and while he had a good OBP of .395 that year, he had *nothing* else: absolutely no power whatsoever (slugging percentage .319) and no defensive value. In 1986, he didn’t even have that: he wrote himself into 72 games for 272 plate appearances and had an OBP of only .316. I wonder if he voluntarily decided to stop writing himself in or if the front office had made it clear they would withhold support if he continued to do so.

      • JRoth says:

        Again, in 1982, he was (per wRC+) 9% better than the average ML hitter. That doesn’t really justify playing time at 1B, but I don’t think his performance was as dire as you paint it. I’m not saying he was better than all alternatives, but he was ~1 win better than a random callup.

        He collapsed pretty thoroughly in ’86, though. And I think your question is a good one. To be worth almost one whole loss in half a season is quite an achievement.

        • Timb says:

          Worth one loss as a player and another 3 as a manager….no wonder they finished second in three consecutive years.

          Anyone else remember when he tried to get John Franc to pitch a three inning save? Just a genius move

  7. c u n d gulag says:

    Jeter will not beat Rose’s record.

    He might still play SS for another year, but he’s been losing range for years – and that’s only natural. But how much longer can you keep putting him out there, if you’re the Yankees – especially since A-Rod’s range at 3rd is also declining? Cano’s a great defensive player (when he wants to be), but even he can’t cover 3/4ers of the infield.

    Unless they decide to get rid of Granderson, and Jeter can play CF for a few seasons, there’s no other place for him, outside of DH. LF is a power position, as is RF, and so are 3rd and 1st – but then, so is DH, and while he’s still a good hitter, he doesn’t have enough power to play a corner position.

    He had a remarkable season this year for a 38 year-old SS.

    He’s had a great career, and we Yankee fans will never see his like again.

    But we’re hoping he decides to retire in another year or two, and retire a career-Yankee, rather than go to another team to chase the record, despite growing mediocrity. He wasn’t happy with his last contract, and the Yanks won’t give him a better one – not at age 40! So, it’s either retire, or move onto some mediocre team to chase the record.

    And anyone who watched Rose play on and on and on, despite declining skills, remembers how painful that was.

  8. Josh G. says:

    Some quick calculations from the stats on baseball-reference show that Rose had 3,372 hits at the end of his age-38 season (1979). Jeter has 3,304 hits now at the end of his age-38 season. That gives him a better chance than I had originally thought, but still slim.
    (Cobb had 3,821 hits at the same age. Unlike Rose, he didn’t spend much time at the end padding his stats. There are rumors that he and Tris Speaker were nudged out of baseball for fixing meaningless late-season games in the pre-commissioner era.)

    • Stan Gable says:

      There was way more tolerance for empty batting average when Rose broke the record compared to now. The only way he breaks it is as a part time DH for KC or something like that – not going to happen.

  9. Sherm says:

    Meanwhile, Barry Zito v. Mike Leake in a big game. Yuck.

  10. wengler says:

    This was a lazy article even for ESPN. What did they think Rose would say? That record is everything to him.

  11. fasteddie9318 says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is; Paul Ryan already broke Rose’s hits record when he was 27, or 28, or something. AMIRITE?

  12. bill says:

    It seems to me that Rose was trying to make a witty reference to his own situation.

  13. dave says:

    I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that Pete Rose still gets crap for selfishly playing too long to the severe detriment to his team simply in order to break a seemingly unreachable career record while Cal Ripken gets thunderous applause for doing the exact same thing.

  14. pepper says:

    your link sucks rose played 2nd base for many years.

  15. Joe says:

    Meanwhile, the Reds blew it.

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