6. PETE ROSE, 1st Baseman
Pete Rose was “Charlie Hustle”, the driving force behind the Cincinnati Reds ‘Big Red Machine’ for a decade and a half through the 1960’s and back-to-back World Series titles in 1975-76.
Following the 1978 season, the Phillies signed Rose as a free agent in hopes that his brand of inspirational play and leadership could help what had been an underachieving team finally find postseason success.
In 1980, Rose was the driving force behind the Phillies winning their first-ever World Series title. Slugger Mike Schmidt credited Rose for making him a more complete player, for unlocking his full potential, and Schmidt himself became the NL MVP for the first of four times that same year.
The ‘Charlie Hustle’ moniker demonstrated itself in Phillies pinstripes in that 1980 World Series at a pivotal moment. With Royals runners on base and the Phillies leading with one out in the top of the 9th inning of Game 6, Rose hustled over from his 1st base position to back Bob Boone on a popup behind the plate. Then the ball popped out of Boone’s glove, Rose was there to snatch it for the 2nd out, setting the stage for Tug McGraw’s dramatic strikeout of Willie Wilson to win the series.
The Phillies returned to the postseason in 1981, and then to the World Series again in 1983, with Rose still playing a key role into his 40’s. In five Phillies seasons from 1979-83, Rose added 826 hits on to his career record 4,256 total.
While with the Phillies from his age 38-42 seasons, Pete Rose appeared in 4 more NL All-Star Games, won a Silver Slugger at 1st base, and finished top 15 in NL MVP voting twice. But more than anything, Rose will always be remembered in Philly for that irreplaceable role in 1980.