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.
Never noticed the bat before... but I knew about Rose's hunger to be the best. I disliked him for many, many years because he lied and didn't own his decision to bet on baseball. But these days, I don't hold it against him. He'll never be someone I admire for honor or character, but I do admire his work ethic and what he accomplished on the diamond. That's why I have started chasing his cards again.ReplyDelete
Your penultimate sentence is very well put, Fuji. I'm sure many people agree. (Myself included.)Delete
I'm pretty sure Pete Rose loved baseball more than anyone who has ever played the game.ReplyDelete
Agreed. All you've got to do is watch some highlights from his career.Delete
Great story. Hofstra?ReplyDelete
Close! Long Island University. Hofstra were big rivals of ours. At the time, they played their home games at Nassau Coliseum, and it was always a big thing when we faced them there.Delete
That is a cool card. Its kind of odd that the bat is only worn on one side like that. Even if he used it a ton, which I'm sure he did with a lot of bats, you'd think it would get evenly worn out around the barrel.ReplyDelete
Good observation. I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Rose had such powers of concentration that he made sure to keep the trademark (painted in white) on the back side of the bat every time he got into his stance.Delete
Awesome card, even better story! I really enjoy the thought that you so obviously put into these "from the favorites box" posts. You always seem to point out things I would have possibly overlooked, and bring a new appreciation of the card to my mind. You've already inspired me to purchase at least one of the cards you've shown in this series, and I may have to grab this Rose too!ReplyDelete
That's the goal, shoebox! Great compliment, thank you. I'm glad you've been enjoying this series so much. More favorites box cards to come, so stay tuned.Delete