Here's Pete Rose, representing his Cincinnati team with a red warm-up jacket, red helmet, red batting gloves, and almost a smile.
|1986 Fleer #191, Pete Rose|
More accurately, perhaps it's the look of determination that comes before some hard work in the batting cage (or the look of fulfillment that comes after).
Why do I say that?
Look closely at the barrel of his bat:
Is it just me, or has the black paint been completely worn off around the sweet spot?
How many batting practice sessions does it take to even do that?
It reminds me of a story:
During my college hockey days, our home rink was also the practice rink of the New York Islanders. We'd have our practices early in the morning, and on rare occasion the Islanders would come on for a practice afterward. If we didn't have to immediately get to class, a few of us would hang around, sit in the stands, and watch the professionals go through their drills. It was a treat.
And who do you think was often the first player on the ice?
The healthy scratches?
The backup goalie?
The recent call-up from the minor leagues?
It was Ziggy Palffy.
At the time Mr. Palffy was a star, scoring more than 40 goals per year. He was by far the best player the Islanders had.
And there he was, stepping onto the ice as soon as the Zamboni drove off.
It goes to show that talent might give you a chance at the professional ranks, but only hard work will get you there and keep you there year after year. And if you're gunning to become the player with the most hits in the history of Major League Baseball, like Mr. Rose did in 1985 (the year this picture was likely taken), you put in that hard work for more than two decades. Until the paint wears off the barrel of your bat.
For sticking to that work ethic no matter who you are, and having the physical evidence to show for it, 1986 Fleer #191 has a place in my box of favorite cards.