Pete Rose was signed before the 1979 season to get the Phils over the playoff hunt. Though that move didn't pay off the first season, Rose's playoff experience (and success) helped lead the team through the National League Championship Series against the Astros and into the World Series. Known as a clutch playoff performer, Rose was geared up to play in the 1980 Fall Classic.
|From The October
15, 1980 edition of The Galveston Daily News:
Pete Rose also called Charley Hustle
The United Press International
PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — Years ago, the Dodgers had a ballplayer with so much fire, so much natural ability, that many of those who saw him still feel he might've turned out to be on the greatest of all time had he not run into a wall and finished himself for good.
His name was Pete Reiser and they called him Pistol Pete because he could shoot you dead with his bat, his glove, his arms or his legs.
The only one around who comes anywhere near him in all respects is Philadelphia's Pete Rose. They call him Charlie Hustle, but they really should call him Pistol Pete, too, because you seldom ever see him cold and generally he's red hot.
Especially at times like this when they're playing for the whole box of biscuits. He loves it. He eats it up. The more that's on the line, the more he gets his juices up.
Says Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda: "He plays baseball like my wife shops — all day long."
The day before the Phillies began their five-game showdown with the Astros for the National League pennant, Rose was bouncing around first base like a kid during the Phils' workout. You could sense he was ready and he said he was.
"I feel I'm gonna have a good playoff" he said, and he certainly did. All he did was lead all the Philadelphia regulars with his .400 figure against the Astros and extend his hitting string in the playoffs to 13 games.
Every time you looked up, he also was doing a little something extra In the field whether it was grabbing a hot smash around first base, making a key relay home or wiping out some poor catcher barreling into the plate.
Pete Rose says he feels good about the World Series with the Kansas City Royals, The last time he talked that way was just before the 1975 World Series when he was still with the Cincinnati Reds and they were about to meet the Boston Red Sox. He hit .370 in that one, winding up the Series' MVP and winner of the $10,000 Hickok Award.
The Royals can't say they weren't warned.
"He can't wait to get out on the field," marveled his old boss with the Reds, Sparky Anderson, who is working the Series for CBS Radio. "Here's a man 39 years old going to play in his fifth World Series and he's as excited as if it were his first. 1 wish every young man starting out in life could watch him and take a lesson from him. He has done more for this game than any athlete I can think of has done for any other sport. This for him is fun and business together. And the remarkable thing about him is his enthusiasm never diminishes."
Tom Seaver is another fellow who has some extra insight into
Rose. Seaver has seen him from two different perspectives. He has seen
him as the enemy when he was pitching against him for the Mets and as
an ally when Rose was his teammate with the Reds.
For most ballplayers, the World Series is the highest possible form of competition. For Pete Rose, it's more like a county fair and he has himself a ball, playing, taking in the whole atmosphere and answering all questions.
One of the questions they asked him had to do with the designated hitter. Who would he name for the job if he were managing the Phillies?
"Why don't you wait a coupla years and ask me," he parried, leaving the thought he might be persuaded to manage a club sometime in the future.
Rose said that naming the Phillies' designated hitter was more in Dallas Green's province than his, although he added that either Del Unser or Greg Gross could do a capable job. Green might decide to use Greg Luzinski as his DH, Rose pointed out.
They also asked him about Brett and Rose said the Royals' third baseman had to be "the premier — I don't wanna say in baseball because I don't know the American League that well — but he's a tremendous hitter. I saw him in a commercial and he slides headfirst. I gotta like him. I guess I won't get criticized if I say he's the best hitter in baseball."
"I just don't want to slide into second base and get hit with a toothpick.”
Finishing up, the Phillies' switch-hitting marvel said he thought
it would be an exciting World Series.