Pete Rose, MLB’s All-Time Hits Leader, Once Rattled Off His List of Untouchable Baseball Records

Nobody has more hits in Major League Baseball than Pete Rose, who collected 4,256 in his 24-year career. It’s a record that likely won’t be broken. The soon-to-be-retired Albert Pujols is the closest active player to catching Rose, and he’s 932 hits away from tying his mark.

When it comes to that hit record being broken, Rose once said “never say never.” He once listed a few more marks that he believes will never be touched.

Former Cincinnati Reds player Paul O’Neill says Pete Rose is a Hall of Famer

Baseball legend Pete Rose visits Stuart Varney’s ‘Varney & Co.’ at Fox Business Network Studios on June 5, 2019, in New York City. | Steven Ferdman/Getty Images.

It’s wildly bizarre that an MLB player who retired from the game 36 years ago and still owns numerous records isn’t in the Hall of Fame. That’s the story of Rose. Rose is permanently banned from the sport after gambling on baseball games while he played for and managed the Cincinnati Reds.

“I have 26, 27 major league records,” Rose said during a January appearance on the the Talking to Titans podcast. “My best record — think about this — my best record is I played in 1,972 winning games. That’s 254 more than the guy who’s second, Carl Yastrzemski. That’s why we played back in those days — to win.”

Paul O’Neill, a five-time MLB All-Star and five-time World Series champ, broke into the big leagues in 1985 and played for Rose, then a player/manager. In his new memoir “Swing and a Hit,” O’Neill said he believed Rose is and will always be a Hall of Famer.

“In my view, he is a Hall-of-Fame player,” O’Neill wrote. “I know someone permanently banned from baseball can’t be inducted into the Hall. But I think Pete deserves to be in the Hall for setting the all-time record of 4,256 hits while playing the game with unbridled passion and joy.

“In the early months of my career, he was so superior to me and many major-league hitters. He was an elite hitter and a memorable player. And, for me, that’s how I think of him: Pete will always be a Hall of Famer.”

Paul O’Neill

Known for his all-out style of play, Rose is tops in games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), and singles (3,215), among many other categories.

Rose once named a few of the MLB records he thinks will never be broken

Rose said players today worry more about how many home runs they’ll hit because that’s what translates into the big contract.

They got too much stuff going on today,” he said. “We didn’t have that much going on. We had sports. I’d rather be playing today because I’d be making $40 million a year.

“My style of play don’t make a dent on the guys today. They’re not worried about getting to first and getting to third and getting home. All they’re worried about, and God bless them, but all they’re worried about is how many home runs they can it and how much money they can make.”

During an interview with Dennis Tobler for The Gambling Network, Tobler said he didn’t think Rose’s hits record would ever be broken.

“Ty Cobb probably said the same thing,” Rose said. “He had 4,191. Never say never.”

That led to a short list of records Rose said he thought may live on forever.

“There’s a couple of records out there right now that I think will be difficult. When I say it will be difficult to break my record, it’s just the way baseball is played today. Baseball players today don’t really concentrate on getting 200 hits. If you get 200 hits a year and you play 20 years, you’re still 256 hits shy of breaking my record.

“There’s a record that’ll never be broken, and that’s Johnny Vander Meer’s double no-hit in a row. You gotta pitch three no-hitters in a row to beat his record. Cy Young’s 511 victories. Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 strikeouts. I doubt very much if we’ll see another 300-game winner.”

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