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Pete Rose slams Jimmy Rollins for going after a record. PETE ROSE!

pete rose getty

One of the fun things about Pete Rose is that when he was the player/manager for the Reds he put himself in the lineup and at first base so that he could break Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record. Which, to be fair, is what the Reds brass and, I assume, most Reds fans wanted.

Rose wasn’t terrible in 1985 -- he got on base at a good clip, but had no power whatsoever -- but sabermetrician Craig Wright made a compelling case in a book several years ago that Rose was hurting the Reds by playing himself. I can’t remember the book -- if someone does, please chime in -- but the upshot was that there were younger players like Nick Esasky either buying buried or who were playing out of position and that the team would have been better off with him or a platoon or something.

No matter which way that actually comes out upon rigorous analytical scrutiny, however, I do think it’s fair to say that Rose’s entire reason for playing in 1985 and 1986 -- and more generally, after 1981, really -- was to break Ty Cobb’s record. It was his clear goal. Maybe it was a noble goal, but there can be no question that a huge part of Rose’s being was about chasing a record. Which makes his criticism of Jimmy Rollins on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly today fairly hilarious:

Rose: I want a guy who is going to win Philly championships, not set Philly records.

— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) June 4, 2014

Rose: Rollins has always been a problem as far as I’m concerned. He hasn’t figured out whether he wants to hit leadoff, second, third [cont]

— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) June 4, 2014

Rose continued: ... I think the worst thing that every happened to him was winning the MVP.

— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) June 4, 2014

Yes, there has been a lot of talk about Rollins not being willing to waive his no-trade clause until he can set the all-time Phillies hit record this season. But if anyone has a right to call Rollins out for that, it sure as heck ain’t Pete Rose.