By Art Beitchman
After failing three times to advance in the National League Championship series, the Phillies signed and added a player they believed could be the missing piece:
Peter Edward Rose as a free agent in 1979.
In 1980 Rose and the Phillies cashed in on that instinct, 1980 World Series champions!
Rose was the missing player this talented team needed. He played in all 162 games that season, leading the NL with 42 doubles. But the post-season is where Rose was an even more valuable commodity. The “Hit King” was on first base as Mike Schmidt slugged his 48th home run versus the Expos to capture a hard-fought NL East title as the season wound down.
Rose was in the middle of the best NL Championship playoff series ever as he collided with Astros catcher Bruce Bochy, landed a forearm shiver to score the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of game four of the NLCS!
Rose was on first base in Game 1 of the 1980 World Series, in front of 65,791 raucous Veteran Stadium fans, as the Phillies won their first WS game ever, taking all of 98 years to accomplish!!
Seven days later the Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals 4-1 to capture the World Series for the first time in history:
Pete Rose was right in the middle of that wild celebration.
Of course, Rose also bet on baseball, a gigantic violation on the integrity of the sport.
He bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win as their manager in the late ‘80s and was banned from baseball for 26 years, but new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has allowed Rose to be part of team celebrations.
What Rose did was incredibly stupid and selfish. But putting his offences into historical perspective, Green Bay Packers RB Paul Hornung was suspended from the NFL in 1963 for exactly the same thing, betting on the Packers to win, he was reinstated in 1964.
The only huge difference was Hornung was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Pete Rose most likely will never have that happy ending, but Phillies fans will be able to come out and give Rose the thanks he deserves for his career as a Phillie on August 12th when he’s put on the Wall of Fame at Citizens Bank Park.