On this date (August 14) in 1984, Pete Rose was traded from the Montreal Expos to the Cincinnati Reds. Rose, at the time, was hitting .259, with two homers and 23 RBI (in 95 games). More important, the 43-year-old Rose had collected 4,069 base hits, just 122 shy of Ty Cobb’s recognized MLB record of 4,191. The trade had other implications. The Reds put Rose in place as player-manager, making him MLB’s last player-manager (to date). The trade (back to his original team) seem to revitalize Rose, who hit .365 for the Reds, while playing in 26 of the team’s last 41 games. (As a manager, he led the team to 19 wins and 22 losses.)
On September 11, 1985, managing and playing first base for the Reds, Rose broke Ty Cobb’s all-time hits record with his 4,192nd safety. (Note: There is some dispute over when Rose actually broke the record. MLB.com lists Cobb’s hit total as 4,191, while independent research indicates two of his hits were double-counted – and baseballreference.com lists Cobb’s total at 4,189. Rose collected his 4,190th hit in a September 8, 1985, game.)
Rose collected his 4,256th and final hit off the Padre’s Goose Gossage on August 17, 1986. He managed the Reds from August 15, 1984 to August 24, 1989, posting a 426–388 record and four second-place finishes in the NL West.
Side note: BBRT finds it a bit ironic, given his permanent placement on MLB’s ineligible list (related to gambling allegations) and subsequent tax-related charges, that Rose was traded from Montreal to Cincinnati for infielder Tom “Lawless.”
While Rose remains on MLB’s ineligible list, the record books still reflects “Charlie Hustle’s” remarkable 24-year-career – in which he set MLB records for (among other stats) games played, at bats and hits; had a record (shared) ten 200-hit seasons; was Rookie of the Year; won three batting titles and one MVP Award; earned two Gold Gloves; and made seventeen All Star appearances, playing at five different positions.