Can you imagine being born in a major league baseball city and years later actually playing pro ball for your home town? That alone would be a great achievement, and that’s exactly what happened to Pete Rose. However, “Charlie Hustle” didn’t stop there.
Pete went on to become the all-time Major League leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562) and at bats (14,053). He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, two gold gloves, one Most Valuable Player award, the Rookie of the Year Award, and made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequaled five different positions (2B, LF, RF, 3B & 1B). Pete earned his nickname of “Charlie Hustle” in every game he played. He’s the only player I ever saw who would sprint to first base even when being walked and his signature move was his thrilling headfirst slide into a base. In short, Pete Rose, was an inspiration to fans both young and old. He went on to manage the Cincinnati Reds for six years after retiring as an active player.
Like so many of today’s great athletes, Pete’s career will forever be viewed under a cloud of accusations. Rose agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball after being accused of gambling on baseball games while playing for and managing the Reds.
This issue will be debated as long as fans discuss the sport. However, what can never be argued is this man’s ability, accomplishments, tenacity, discipline, determination, personal drive, and hustle. Here’s an example which we should be able to adopt to our personal and business endeavors.
Pete was being interviewed in spring training the year he was about to break Ty Cobb’s all time record. One of the many reporters in attendance asked: “Pete, you’re only 78 hits away from breaking the record. How many at-bats do you think you’ll need to get 78 hits?” Without hesitation, Pete stared at the reporter and very matter-of-factly said, “78.” The reporter laughed and quickly replied, “Ah, come on, Pete, you don’t really expect to get 78 hits at 78 at-bats do you?”
At that point, Pete calmly shared his philosophy with the group of reporters who were anxiously awaiting his reply to this seemingly boastful claim. “Every time I step into that batter’s box, I expect to get a hit! If I don’t expect to get a hit, I have no right to step up to the plate in the first place!”
“If I go up to bat hoping to get a hit,” he went on, “then I probably don’t have a prayer of getting a hit. It’s my positive expectations that has gotten me all of the hits I’ve gotten so far. Without it, I may as well stay in the clubhouse!”
Pete expected no less from all of those he managed later in his career. This is certainly a message we should take to heart ourselves while making certain we pass it on to future generations. It is truly a philosophy of a champion!