GREAT BASEBALL MOMENTS- PETE ROSE’S 44 GAME HITTING STREAK SETS NATIONAL LEAGUE RECORD -1978

Pete Rose 44-game hitting streak 1978

Great Baseball Moments- Pete Rose’s 44 Game Hitting Streak Sets National League Record-1978.

The other day when writing about Rose’s endurance record- the hit record I was someone critical of Rose in holding on well past his playing days should have been over- for selfish reasons. I can’t be critical at all [except for his whining when it ended ] of his 44 Game Hitting Streak in 1978- which set the National League record which still stands.

The 56 Game Hitting Streak by Joe DiMaggio in 1941- still stands 80 years later. That is an unbreakable record. With today’s media no one reaching 40 games would be able to withstand all the media attention for one thing. In 1978 there was no 24 hour news cycle, no EPSN. Rose’s hitting streak received a ton of attention but nothing compared to what it would be like in 2021 if someone made a similar run.

Rose had a great run- 44 games in a row getting a hit is incredible. You can’t have a bad game. It’s not like a year long record of say home runs where you can go without a home run for a while and still add them up. With a hit streak one day without a hit and it’s all over.

Rose was 37 years old in 1978 [or a little older if his ex-wife is to be believed] and his best days were thought to be behind him. On June 14, 1978 he was mired in a slump- 6 hits in his last 44 at bats. That day he got 2 hits- and the streak was on . By the All- Star Game in mid -July it was up to 25 games. A few days later he broke the Cincinnati Reds record held by Vida Pinson- 28 games. Even at 28 games he was still just half way to DiMaggio’s record but the streak was starting to get attention.

As time went on Rose was focused on the next streak in front of him. An important one was to top the 40 game hitting streak of Ty Cobb’s. Rose knew his baseball history. He even said concerning Cobb that ‘Cobb is next, when I get to 45 games you can talk DiMaggio.’ Rose went past Cobb against Steve Carlton with a bunt single. Then he passed a 41 game streak held by George Sisler. Back in 1896 Wee Willie Keeler hit in 44 games straight. To tie Keeler- he had to get a hit off of Phil Niekro and his knuckleball. Rose hated going against Niekro because of that pitch but when Niekro mixed in a fastball- Rose got his hit and tied Keeler.

The streak would end the next game against the Atlanta Braves. It was a nationally televised game. He was hitless going into the 9th inning. 2 outs Rose came up against Braves relief pitcher Gene Garber. The count was 2 balls and 2 strikes- Rose expected Garber to challenge him with a fast ball- Garber threw a change up- Rose swung and missed. The streak was over at 44 games. After the game Rose bitched and moaned about how Garber pitched him. More than 30 years later Rose was still upset with Garber. The longest streak in the past 43 years since the Rose 44- has been Paul Molitor at 39 games in 1987 and Jimmy Rollins in 2005-06 at 38. A couple weeks after the streak ended the Reds came to Pittsburgh and I remember Rose getting a big ovation when he came up to bat for the first time. You never saw Rose getting much applause in Pittsburgh.

Note- When Joe DiMaggio’s streak ended at 56 games in 1941- the day after his streak ended- he started another streak that lasted 16 games. When Joe was in the minor leagues- he had a hitting streak of 61 games. Incredible.

17 responses to “GREAT BASEBALL MOMENTS- PETE ROSE’S 44 GAME HITTING STREAK SETS NATIONAL LEAGUE RECORD -1978

  1. I had to wonder while watching if Garber shook off a fast ball. Rose was not liked and I doubt if any pitcher would have given in to him.

    • something i noticed in that clip- Rose was all bent out of shape by how Garber pitched him– but how about Pete trying to bunt on the first pitch- to keep the streak alive? That could be called a little cheap too..

    • Yes I noticed that and when you wrote that he extended his streak on a bunt… Pete was/is all about Pete. I haven’t heard too many good things about the man.

    • Especially from the betting scandal on- 30 plus years the way I viewed him as a player has changed. He was Charlie Hustle as a player and everyone marveled at how he would do things like run to first on a walk…now I view all his ‘hustle’ differently on the field- yes he played hard on the field- but it was his calling card. It gave him attention. When people talked of players who gave 110 percent they talked of Rose- well OTHER players gave 110 percent also but they just did it- and didn’t show off about it. Pete was a show off- he was that kid in your class who was always doing things to get attention. Pete also liked spreading this myth about how it was all on desire and hustle that he really didn’t have the talents other star players had- bull. That is why there are guys my age and older who still love Pete and overlook all his many many mistakes- because they seem themselves in Pete- ‘I was as talented as Pete but Pete he wanted it so bad- look what he did.’ type of thing. … and the biggest myth these guys seem to fall for is that Pete is somehow at home the past 30 years mourning the fact they won’t let him in the Hall of Fame. That is Pete’s calling card. If he’s in the Hall he’s just another Hall of Famer- this makes him special- and he’s made millions on the fact that he’s been barred from Cooperstown. He’s a shameless hustler.

    • Yea I’ve heard that before also…it is bull. He was talented but he ran a brand.
      The brand wasn’t baseball, the Reds, or The Phillies…it was Pete.
      Not only on the field…just listening to his teammates and ex-wives and girlfriends…he was a jerk. I’ve called him the Used Car Salesman…that is what he reminds me of.

    • Pete tried to make it about baseball but it was all about Pete all the time. I remember this was back in the late 70’s reading an article about how after a Reds home game he’d go home and in his garage had some expensive radio equipment set up in his garage where he could listen to games from the west coast– I didn’t of course think of it until the late 80’s- but I wonder why he was so interested in those games? Did he have bets on them?……it’s sad how so many have bought in to him- but again they are mostly older men who worshiped him as a kid who just can’t turn their back on him- they are Sgt. Schultz’s. .. Heck even Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan came out against him being in the Hall… I don’t think if he became eligible that he’d get the vote.

    • I know he likes baseball but yea…that does sound real fishy…we will never know the extent of his betting. If he wouldn’t have liked for years…it might have been better on him but he still wouldn’t get in.
      I know a few Pete apologists myself. A lot of old Reds fans around here.

      I remember when Bench and Morgan came out against him…and that is pretty strong.
      Correct me if I’m wrong but the Hall of Fame doesn’t have to do what MLB wants right? No I’m NOT saying let him in or anyone else…but they are two separate companies right?

    • The Hall is totally different outfit- now MLB can reinstate him where he could coach or whatever- but at this point that wouldn’t happen- but the Hall can do as they wish.

    • Gambling really was the only rule you had to go by…saying that…I do think Shoeless Joe Jackson should be looked at again for the hall…
      I guess what I was thinking was just because Shoeless Joe was banned in the MLB doesn’t mean he couldn’t be in the hall of fame…and Pete for that matter but Pete is a different story.

    • I think where Pete blew it was- because of his lack of intelligence— when he got busted he should have confessed- instead of waiting 15 plus years – 15 years of denial in which a lot of people believed him… confessed- admitted to the mistake and changed his habits and gotten away from gambling on anything- reformed himself but that wasn’t in him. he’s probably at the track this minute.

    • Off Topic: Hans I just started that book The Glory of Their Times….it’s awesome…thanks for the recommendation. It’s the ballplayers actually talking in this one. I loved hearing Sam Crawford.

    • a remarkable book- and it was a great idea that Ritter got- traveling the country and recording the old timers stories before they departed. Glad you are enjoying.

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