Is Pete Rose the Best Phillies Player of All Time?

6590078 Pete Rose
5 June 1983: Pete Rose of the Philadelphia Phillies in action.

When we think of truly memorable baseball players, the Philadelphia Phillies bring a great deal to the table in terms of the personalities that they have developed over the years. Some well-known names include Mike Schmidt, Chase Utley, Tug McGraw, and Ryan Howard. However, other individuals have taken on a life of their own in terms of immortality. One perfect example of this observation can be seen when referring to Pete Rose.

While a handful could argue that Rose is not at the top of the Phillies list in terms of statistics while he was on the diamond, there is much more to greatness than home runs and fielding. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why a growing number of fans consider Pete Rose to represent the epitome of Phillies baseball.

A Relatively Short Tenure with a Massive Impact

To be clear, Pete Rose was not the most long-lived Phillies player. His total stint lasted only five seasons and yet, he cemented his name amongst the legends during this time. This is largely due to his personality while on the field. Many believe that Rose exhibited what has made the Phillies great over the years; a level of non-stop motivation. This very same intensity made him, adored by fans and feared by competitors. While flamboyant and over the top on occasion, do these traits not also partially define baseball?

In terms of statistics, Rose also made a name for himself. Let’s remember that the Phillies failed to make it to the World Series for three consecutive years (between 1976 and 1978). However, his presence can be directly attributed to their 1980 win. This is one of the reasons why he is still affectionately known as “Charlie Hustle”.

More Than the Phillies Alone

We are all aware that Pete Rose was also known for his betting habits. Unfortunately, user-friendly websites such as simply did not exist at the time. This led him to employ traditional bookmakers (and not without a fair amount of bad press). Although this cast a rather dark shadow over his career at the time, we also need to keep in mind that he was a successful manager of the Cincinnati Reds for five years during the latter half of the 1980s. Finally, let’s remember that Rose is still the all-time leader in hits, at-bats, games played, singles, and outs. This arguably makes him one of the most talented all-around personalities to have ever walked onto the diamond.

Due to the scandals involved later in his career, Pete Rose is currently ineligible to be entered into the Hall of Fame and this is quite unfortunate. Still, we have to focus upon how he positively impacted the Philadelphia Phillies in order to remember that even the best players can make mistakes on occasion. If we look at the sheer numbers as well as the 1980s World Series win, there is no doubt that Rose will be fondly remembered as one of the all-time greats.

Mandatory Credit: VJ Lovero/SI/Icon SMI